A police officer who died after being shot during a traffic stop in New Zealand has been remembered as a “person of great integrity” who fulfilled a life-long dream of becoming a cop.
Constable Matthew Dennis Hunt, 28, was killed by gunshot after performing a routine traffic stop on Friday morning in Massey, a suburb of New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland.
Police say a second officer was shot and seriously injured, while the offender also allegedly struck a member of the public in his vehicle, injuring them.
On Saturday, New Zealand Police released a statement on behalf of Constable Hunt’s family, who said it was his “life-long dream” to become a police officer.
“Matthew was a person of great integrity. His closest friends were like his brothers and sisters and they, along with his family, are absolutely heartbroken by what has happened,” his family said.
“He was passionate about sport and his physical fitness and was thrilled to enjoy the recent Blues game at Eden Park with his mates.”
Commissioner Andrew Coster said Constable Hunt joined the police force in October 2017.
“He spent the majority of his career working frontline at Orewa and Helensville Stations before recently moving to work in our Waitemata Road Policing Team based at Harbour Bridge Station,” he said.
“Our police family across New Zealand are mourning the tragic and senseless death of Constable Hunt and our priority remains on supporting his family at this tragic time.
“Along with this, we are also ensuring the welfare of all other police staff who attended the incident as well as the other injured officer and injured member of the public.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said news of Constable Hunt’s death on Friday was “devastating”.
Police searching for woman
A 24-year-old has been charged with murder, attempted murder and dangerous driving causing injury.
He will appear before the Waitakere District Court on Saturday.
Police are unable to rule out the possibility of other people being charged.
On Saturday, police said they were also seeking Natalie Bracken, 30, in relation to the shooting.
“The 30-year-old has a warrant to arrest on driving charges and is also wanted to arrest as an accessory after the fact to the murder of Constable Matthew Hunt,” Detective Superintendent Dave Lynch said.
“Police have no information to suggest that Ms Bracken is in possession of a firearm but she does have previous history for a possession of a knife.
“Ms Bracken is known to associate with people that have affiliations to a number of gangs.”
Anyone who sees her is being told not to approach her and call police.
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