Wednesday March 27, 2019
Cache of firearms found at Christchurch man's home, and he later dies from a stab wound after police surrounded his car.
Police investigate a vehicle at the scene where a man died of stab wounds in Christchurch on Wednesday [Sanka Vidanagama/AFP]
New Zealand police launched a "high-priority" investigation on Wednesday to find out whether a man who died after an early morning standoff with officers had links to the mosque attacks that killed 50 people.
Police raided the 54-year-old man's home on Tuesday
night and found a cache of firearms after receiving a tip-off from the
public about "suspicious behaviour", Police Commissioner Mike Bush said
in a statement.
"A high priority investigation is under way to
determine whether or not the deceased man posed a threat to the
community," said Bush.
They stopped the man in his car just outside the city of Christchurch and began negotiations that lasted for about three hours.
Police eventually approached the vehicle and found the man
critically injured with a stab wound that soon claimed his life. They
did not explain how he got the wound but a knife was located in the
There were no firearms in the car, however, which was also cleared by explosives experts.
With Christchurch on alert after New Zealand's gun mass shootings
less than two weeks ago, police said they would also look for any links
to the mosque attacks.
"At this time there is no evidence to suggest this person had any
involvement in the attacks of March 15, however, this forms an important
part of the investigation," said a statement.
Christchurch will host a national memorial for the attack victims on Friday and police have urged the public to remain vigilant.
Wednesday's police investigation comes as New Zealand's intelligence
minister said he was allowing spy agencies to carry out "intrusive"
activities following the gun rampage.
The government this week ordered a judicial inquiry into whether the
South Pacific nation's intelligence services could have prevented the
attack amid criticism the white supremacist gunman went unnoticed as
they were too focussed on the Muslim community.
"I have given authority to the agencies to do intrusive activities
under warrant," said Andrew Little, the minister responsible for
Little told Radio New Zealand that spies typically monitor
30-40 people, but that number had now increased - although he was
unwilling to reveal by how much.