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Gunman found dead: NZ police

world Updated: May 09, 2009 13:26 IST

AP
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A man who apparently kept New Zealand police surrounding his home at bay with repeated volleys of gunfire for nearly three days after allegedly killing an officer has been found dead, authorities said on Saturday.

The standoff that began on Thursday as officers were searching the house for cannabis forced hundreds of nearby residents to flee their homes and closed local businesses and schools, virtually shutting down the North Island city of Napier.

Police called in friends of former army reservist Jan Molenaar, 51, to help them negotiate but without success. There was no indication that Molenaar made any demands and he reportedly told friends at one point that he would rather die than be sent to prison. Police said they preferred to wait it out, rather than raid the house.

But as the siege entered its third day, Superintendent Sam Hoyle said officers used explosives to blow a hole in the house's ground floor to see inside and to destroy any booby traps. Police still had no view of the master bedroom where Molenaar had barricaded himself, he said.

When they finally entered the house, Molenaar was dead, Hoyle said.