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New Zealand gunman kills six, injures five

February 8, 1997

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) _ A man armed with a shotgun stalked a New Zealand ski village for an hour Saturday, killing six people and seriously wounding five others.

Police arrested the alleged gunman after chasing him through rugged forest with backup from planes and helicopters. The man was unarmed and naked when he broke cover and was taken into custody, rescue helicopter pilot Guy Beange said.

It took authorities more than an hour to reach Raurimu Spiral, 250 miles north of the capital, Wellington, after a shopkeeper reported that people were dead in the street. The nearest police station was 30 miles away.

Police searched for more bodies in and around the ski village. They did not immediately identify the suspect, a 50-year-old local man, or the victims.

The violence began with a family argument and it appeared that the gunman’s relatives bore the brunt of his rage, but passersby also were caught in the shooting, that went on for about an hour, police said.

Residents of Raurimu, a village with a few dozen houses mainly used as winter holiday homes for access to nearby ski areas, saw a man and a woman lying wounded on the town’s main road early Saturday morning.

Gordon Stewart said he was at the local school when he heard about eight shots. A few minutes later, a 30-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the face arrived in a car.

``He said, `There has been a shooting,‴ said Stewart, who called police then told family and friends to leave the village for safety. Many residents fled to a nearby national park.

New Zealand’s deadliest shooting rampage took place Nov. 13, 1990, when David Gray slaughtered 13 people during 24 hours of terror in the tiny Otago seaside settlement of Aramoana. He was finally shot dead by police.

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