Police officer killed on duty in New Zealand

An unarmed police officer was killed and another was seriously injured after being shot during a routine traffic stop in New Zealand on Friday, the authorities have said.

The incident took place in Auckland, the country’s largest city, on Friday morning after the officers tried to stop a vehicle of interest.

It is not known if the gunman has yet been found. Two “persons of interest” have been arrested after police raided a house in Auckland, several hours after the deadly shooting.

In a news conference, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said: “This is a shocking situation. It is the worst news police, and police officers’ families, can ever receive in the course of what we do.”

“This was a fast-moving, unpredictable, and absolutely tragic event. We have a large investigations team working to establish the details of what occurred,” he added.

Coster confirmed that the two police officers briefly lost sight of the car they wished to stop, later finding it crashed in a nearby road.

When they approached the vehicle, a man with a long-barrelled gun got out of it and fired multiple shots at them, before escaping with another person in a different vehicle.

The injured officer and a bystander, who was hit by the suspect’s car, were taken to hospital following the incident. They are said to be in a stable condition.

The police discovered the second car abandoned near to the location of the shooting. They have also recovered a “firearm of interest” and are pursuing “strong lines of inquiry”, including speaking to two people of interest, according to Coster.

A general police arming order was issued following the incident and eight schools in the area were put into lockdown as a precaution.

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, said she was devastated to hear the news of the police officer’s death.

In a statement, Ms. Ardern said: “Ending the week with a very heavy heart after the death of a New Zealand police officer. To lose a member of the police is to lose someone who has committed themselves to look after all of us. They are someone’s family member, someone’s loved one, someone’s workmate, and someone’s friend. My heart goes out to all of them.”

The two officers were unarmed, which is normal procedure in a country where only specialist police such as those at airports routinely carry guns.

It is more than a decade since a police officer in New Zealand was killed in the line of duty.

Last year, New Zealand brought in new gun control laws that banned the deadliest types of semiautomatic weapons. This came in response to the mass shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, in which 51 people were killed by a gunman during Friday prayers.

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