Sam Sherwood and Blair Ensor
A gang leader’s son is fighting for his life after a double shooting north of Christchurch, sparking fears of tit-for-tat violence.
Police were called to a property in Kaiapoi about 3.30am on Monday after a man arrived seeking help. That man, patched Mongrel Mob Aoteaora member Fairmont Joseph Wiringi, had been shot in the arm and torso and was taken to Christchurch Hospital in a serious condition. He remains there in a coma.
About 5am, a second man was dropped off at the hospital with a bullet wound to his arm. He was not seriously injured.
Wiringi is the son of Mongrel Mob Aotearoa president Joseph “Junior” Wiringi, and the brother of patched Mob member Fairlane Wiringi.
The other injured man is a patched member of the Rebels Motorcycle Club.
All police in Canterbury have been told to carry firearms until those responsible for the shooting have been caught.
It’s understood there are concerns among top brass that the incident might spark tit-for-tat violence.
The two people who dropped the Rebels gang member at hospital are in police custody.
Both of those people, one of whom is understood to be a Mongols MC gang member, were helping police with their inquiries, a spokeswoman said.
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“Those involved in this incident are believed to be known to each other and there is no risk to the wider community,’’ she said.
Police cordoned off part of Whitefield and Aldersgate streets in Kaiapoi on Monday as they investigated the shooting.
A nearby resident said he heard a single gunshot early Monday morning, but believed it was a firework and went back to sleep.
Another resident of Whitefield St said she heard a gunshot early Monday morning.
She went to her front window and saw two cars drive off in opposite directions – a black car one that looked like a “white cab” – but did not see anything else.
Another Kaiapoi property, in Peak Cres, was also cordoned off on Monday.
Wiringi was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment in October after pleading guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis, failing to allow police to search his phone and breach of the Health Act.
On April 13, the 18th day of New Zealand’s level 4 lockdown, Wiringi was stopped by police in Christchurch at 10.56pm. He could offer no valid reason for leaving is home.
When police searched the vehicle, they found an illegally cut-down firearm under the front passenger seat. Identifying features including the serial numbers had been removed. Wiringi does not hold a firearm’s licence.
Police also found 3.3 grams of methamphetamine and 2.25g of cannabis.
Wiringi’s daughter was born while he was in custody, and he had never seen her in person until his sentencing. His partner and baby girl, along with other whānau, were in court to support him at the hearing.
In a letter to Judge Stephen O’Driscoll, Wiringi said the birth of his daughter’s birth had been a turning point in his life, and he felt his life had meaning and purpose for the first time.
“I am confident and determined to step up and be the man my partner and my daughter need me to be,” he said.
Judge O’Driscoll said he believed Wiringi was sincere when he said he wanted to make better choices for his future.
On request from Wiringi’s lawyer, Judge O’Driscoll allowed Wiringi’s partner to hand their baby to him in the dock, so he could hold her for a few minutes before he was taken away by a Corrections officer.
“I hope I don’t see you again, Mr Wiringi,” Judge O’Driscoll said.
Acting Canterbury district commander Detective Superintendent Tom Fitzgerald told Stuff an arming order for frontline staff was made on Monday.
“The general arming order is due to the heightened risk to staff as a result of the shooting this morning and the ongoing inquiries into that.
“Until all those responsible are located, staff will be armed for the next 24 hours.”
Officers were looking for people who could be armed, and there were “increased tensions” between those involved, he said.
The double shooting follows a string of violent incidents in the Greater Christchurch area over the last week.
Four people were charged with the murder of a Christchurch man after a New Year’s Eve party at the South Island headquarters of international bikie gang the Mongols MC.
Police are also investigating the death of a man on England St in Linwood, Christchurch, on Sunday afternoon.
A police spokeswoman earlier said they were “working to determine the full circumstances” of the man’s death, and an autopsy would be carried out on Monday.
On December 29, a man was critically injured on Newmark St in Bishopdale, Christchurch.
It is not clear if any of the incidents are linked.
In July last year, the vice president of the Mongrel Mob’s Aotearoa chapter, Rota Beattie, died after suffering a seizure at his Christchurch home five years after he was shot in the back of the head.
The identity of the shooter remains a mystery to police, who have never laid charges in connection with the 2015 gangland incident.
It has long been suspected that a member of the Head Hunters, a rising force in the city’s underworld at the time, shot Beattie, but police have never been able to prove it.
Canterbury district crime manager Detective Inspector Greg Murton earlier said Beattie and other possible witnesses refused to cooperate with police, which “signficantly hampered” the investigation.
The case had been “filed”, Murton said, meaning it was no longer being investigated by police.