Police believe a man wanted after a wild chase around Southland last night is still in the area and say two police-issued Glock pistols stolen during the incident haven't been found.
Officers have carried out a number of raids at properties in the eastern Southland area today in the search for 24-year-old Hori Gemmell, who police say is considered dangerous and should not be approached.
Gemmell is being sought by a team of 30 police officers after two police cars were rammed, and two police Glock pistols and a police car were stolen after a police pursuit in Southland last night.
He has an existing warrant for his arrest, issued by the Gore District Court last month.
Gemmell was pursued by police after failing to stop over his manner of driving on Crewe Street, Gore, just before midnight, police Southern District Commander Superintendent Paul Basham told media today.
Mr Basham says Gemmell rammed the patrol car pursuing him before fleeing on foot. Two officers chased after him, also on foot.
Mr Basham says Gemmell stole the patrol vehicle after circling back around a house to the vehicle. The keys were still in the ignition. Officers attempted to stop Gemmel by smashing a window of the car and attempting to Taser him. The Taser attempt was unsuccessful due to the clothing Mr Gemmell was wearing, Mr Basham said.
Mr Basham says Gemmell rammed into another police car while fleeing the scene. The police car was found abandoned a short while later.
Gemmell gained access to the police car after the keys were left in the ignition, Mr Basham said, which is not standard police procedure. The keys were later found in the arms safe, where officers discovered two police-issued Glock pistols missing.
Police then pursued another, non-police vehicle believed to have been driven by Gemmell, for 30 to 40 minutes. The armed offenders squad joined the pursuit during this time.
Police say they are following strong lines of inquiry to locate the man.
Gemmell has a number of gang connections, Mr Basham said, and should not be approached.
Police in eastern Southland and Invercargill will be armed while the search continues, Mr Basham said.
The incident will be referred to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.