A 30-year-old man and 29-year-old woman are escorted to Masterton District Court on Monday where they faced attempted murder charges. PHOTO/ELI HILL

Victim ‘stable’ in Wellington Hospital

STAFF REPORTERS
editor@age.co.nz

A Masterton man and woman have been charged with attempted murder after a shooting on Dixon St near Norris Way on Sunday night.

The victim, a Masterton woman in her 20s, is in a stable condition in Wellington Hospital with leg injuries after the incident.

A 30-year-old man and 29-year-old woman, known to each other, appeared on Monday in Masterton District Court.

Both have name suppression.

The man was charged with attempted murder of the shooting victim, and intent to injure two other men present at the incident.

The woman faced two charges – attempted murder of the victim, and intent to injure another man.

Both were remanded in custody without plea and are due to appear before the Wellington District Court later this month.

A cordon was still in place on Dixon St on Monday while a scene examination took place.

Police at the scene said forensic evidence was being protected by the cones and a neighbouring property was also considered part of the scene.

Area Commander Detective Inspector Scott Miller said police from Wairarapa, Upper Hutt and Wellington responded to the shooting incident, with help from the Armed Offenders Squad and Wellington dog handlers.

The combined effort saw the pair apprehended within five hours of the incident.

Miller said the man was found by the railway lines behind Oxford St.

“When he was faced by the Armed Offenders Squad he gave himself up,” he said.

Miller said the suspect was in possession of a shotgun which police believed to be the weapon used in the shooting.

The female suspect was found separately at a different address.

Around 20 family members of the victim gathered outside Wairarapa Hospital on Sunday night where the woman was initially taken by car by a passing member of the public.

The hospital went into lockdown for a short time until the victim was transported by Life Flight’s Westpac rescue helicopter to Wellington Hospital for surgery on serious wounds to her leg.

Several witnesses were spoken to at the hospital on Sunday night, but police were still working their way through interviews as there were several scenes involved in the incident.

Some witnesses reported three carloads of people at the scene before the shooting, but Miller could not confirm how many vehicles were involved.

However, police are appealing for sightings of a late 90s silver Toyota Altezza saloon which is believed to have been used to transport the suspects.

Wairarapa DHB communications manager Anna Cardno said the family of the victim at the hospital were extremely co-operative and the lockdown was merely precautionary.

“We were working with police at keeping both staff and the public safe because the people involved in the shooting hadn’t been detained yet.”

She said the lockdown was during staff changeover which delayed some staff from leaving the hospital at the end of their shifts but they were safely escorted off the property by 11.30pm after the patient was transferred.

She was aware of an altercation outside the hospital but said it was handled by police.

Miller said police were alerted to a vehicle in the hospital carpark that may have been involved in the shooting but quickly determined this was not the case.

Residents of Dixon St saw the incident unfold after a Sunday afternoon in which several patched gang members were seen hanging around the property.

One woman, who did not want to be named, said her family was cooking dinner when she heard two shots fired, followed shortly after by a third shot which sounded ‘tinnier’ than the first two. The woman called 111 while her partner was outside trying to make sure no one came on to their property.

“It was horrifying,” she said.

“There was lots of yelling and it was very, very, scary.

“You don’t know who’s going to run on to your property and the police took ages to come.”

She said after the gunshots a man could be heard yelling death threats at a woman, followed by loud screaming.

A Kuripuni St resident said the male who was yelling sounded insane and female voices could be heard trying to calm him down.

Another Dixon St resident said after they heard the shots they heard a lady shouting for someone to call for help, but a man was yelling “no” in response.