2009 Napier shootings

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2009 Napier shootings
Napier tank.jpg
A NZLAV used in the siege
LocationNapier, New Zealand
Date7–9 May 2009
9.30 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. (UTC+12)
Attack type
Shooting, murder, homicide
WeaponsLarge array of explosives and firearms (Includes: sawn off Remington 870, L1A1 SLR, Remington 742, etc.)
Deaths2 (including the perpetrator)
Non-fatal injuries
PerpetratorJan Molenaar
DefendersArmed Offenders Squad, Special Tactics Group

The 2009 Napier shootings (also widely called the Napier siege by the New Zealand media) occurred on 7 May 2009 in Napier, New Zealand. At around 9.30 am, Jan Molenaar fired on New Zealand Police officers executing a routine cannabis search warrant at his house at 41 Chaucer Road,[1] killing Senior Constable Len Snee and seriously injuring Senior Constables Bruce Miller and Grant Diver.[2] A neighbour attempting to assist the police was also shot.[1] Over one hundred police, including Armed Offenders Squad and Special Tactics Group members, were brought in to cordon and contain the gunman, who was identified as a former territorial soldier.[1] A siege lasting over forty hours developed, during which police officers made repeated attempts under fire to retrieve the body of the slain officer. With the assistance of two New Zealand Army NZLAVs, they were successful at about 5 pm on 8 May.[2] At around midday on 9 May police found the gunman dead inside the master bedroom of the house.[3]

Jan Molenaar[edit]

Jan Molenaar
Jan Molenaar
Died9 May 2009
Cause of deathsingle self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head [4]
Date7–9 May 2009
Location(s)Napier, New Zealand
WeaponsRuger Mini-14 .223 calibre hunting rifle with folding stock

Jan Molenaar, 51, was born of Ngāti Kahungunu extraction[5] and grew up in Napier, where he went to Nelson Park Primary School, Napier Intermediate School and William Colenso College.[6] In the 1980s he spent six years in the territorial armoured corps of the Hawke's Bay and Wellington Regiment. Molenaar is said to have been a loner, and to have missed his brother, who had killed himself having experimented with the drug methamphetamine.[6]


Senior Constables Snee, Miller and Diver attended an address in Napier during a routine cannabis investigation. An occupant of the house fired shots at the policemen, killing Snee and wounding Miller and Diver. A neighbour was also shot when he tried to intervene.[7][8] Diver sheltered behind a neighbouring house where he was able to phone for back up. Armed Offenders members responded quickly; with the aid of two members of the public they pulled Miller to safety; armed officers also retrieved the injured civilian, Leonard Holmwood.[9] The officers were commended for their bravery at rescuing their comrades by Prime Minister John Key. Key also praised the police for their actions over the course of the Napier siege.[10] Sacred Heart school, Nelson Park School, Napier Central School, Napier Intermediate and Napier Girls' High School were all on lockdown for Thursday, and Nelson Park School, Napier Central School and Napier Intermediate were shut on Friday.

Thursday 7 May[edit]

  • 9.30am: Senior Constables Len Snee, Bruce Miller and Grant Diver arrive at the home of Jan Molenaar, to serve a cannabis search warrant. Snee is shot dead, and the two other officers and a civilian are shot and wounded.
  • 9.40am: Police cordon off the surrounding area and evacuate local residents.
  • 10.00am: The injured officers Bruce Miller and Grant Diver are taken to hospital. Police fail to recover Snee's body after being shot at by the gunman.
  • 11.03am: Police announced that "Police can confirm that three police officers have been involved in a shooting incident in Napier this morning. Two police officers have been injured and are in hospital. A third officer is unaccounted for at this stage."[11]
  • 12.25pm: More shots are fired, police talk to Molenaar through a loud hailer after which more shots are fired.
  • 7.15pm: A Police website media release announced "Police have been unable at this point to extricate Senior Constable Snee."[12]
  • 8.05pm: The Special Tactics Group arrives aboard a Unimog.[13]

Friday 8 May[edit]

  • 4.35pm: Two of the army's light armoured vehicles, followed by a police car with officers and a police dog inside, enter the cordoned area.[14]
  • 5.00pm: The body of Leonard Snee was retrieved by Police.[15]

Saturday 9 May[edit]

  • 3:30am: A volley of shots and a large explosion are heard. Police did not confirm where the shots came from. It was speculated that police detonated an explosive device against the house's garage door.
  • 12:00pm: Police discover the body of shooter Jan Molenaar in the first floor master bedroom.[3]

Len Snee[edit]

Leonard "Len" Snee (11 March 1956 – 7 May 2009) is the 29th member of the New Zealand Police killed in the line of duty. A long serving officer who was well known to the local community,[16] Snee was a member of the Armed Offenders Squad and worked on drugs cases. In 1996, he was involved in the manhunt for Constable Glenn McKibbin's murderer, Terence Thompson, in Flaxmere. As with Molenaar, he was of Ngāti Kahungunu extraction.[5]


Molenaar continues to have admirers in Napier, particularly those impressed by his anti-gang stance;[17] his tangi at Ruahapia marae and funeral were well attended.[18] Snee's tangi was at Takapau marae[19] and his funeral in Napier's Municipal Theatre.[20]

Molenaar's partner Delwyn Ismalia Keefe, a convicted drug dealer,[21] has received $10,000 of ACC compensation because Molenaar committed suicide.[22] A restraining order has been issued against the house the two lived in and more than $90,000 in cash and bank accounts so the assets can be forfeited to the Crown once she is sentenced on the drug charges.[23] She disputes accounts by others of the siege, saying Lenny Holmwood, who attempted to wrestle the gun from Molenaar, and is believed by police to have saved the lives of their two wounded officers, did not do so.[24]

Holmwood has been recognised by The New Zealand Herald as its 2009 New Zealander of the Year for his heroism in saving Miller and Diver.[25] In 2011, Holmwood, two other civilians, 10 police officers and a paramedic received bravery medals for their actions during the shootings.[26]


  1. ^ a b c "Napier gunman's house was 'a stronghold'". Stuff.co.nz. 10 May 2009. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Policeman's body recovered, siege status 'unchanged'". New Zealand Herald. 8 May 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  3. ^ a b "'Incredibly risky' operation at end of siege". Television New Zealand. 9 May 2009. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  4. ^ Francis, Clio (13 May 2009). "Napier gunman shot himself in head – coroner". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Hundreds farewell gunman Jan Molenaar". Stuff.co.nz. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Napier Gunman Had 'Serious Issues'". Stuff.co.nz. 10 May 2009. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  7. ^ Eriksen, Alanah (9 May 2009). "Hero 'took bullet' to protect policemen". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  8. ^ "Police name officer shot dead". The New Zealand Herald. 7 May 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  9. ^ Marty Sharpe, Clio Francis and Ruth Hill (11 May 2009). "The heroes of Hospital Hill". The Dominion Post. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2009.
  10. ^ "Key praises police over Napier siege". NZPA. 11 May 2009. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2009.
  11. ^ "Shooting in Napier". Archived from the original on 9 May 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2009.
  12. ^ "Accommodation offers for stranded Napier residents". Retrieved 7 May 2009.
  13. ^ "Graphic: The Napier siege". The New Zealand Herald. 9 May 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  14. ^ "Napier siege: Latest updates". The New Zealand Herald. 8 May 2009. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  15. ^ "Police officer's body recovered". Archived from the original on 11 May 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  16. ^ "Shot policeman was Senior Constable Len Snee". Retrieved 7 May 2009.
  17. ^ "Behind the Napier siege". Stuff.co.nz. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 21 June 2009.
  18. ^ "Hundreds farewell gunman Jan Molenaar". The Press. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  19. ^ "Slain officer's body taken to family marae". Television New Zealand. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 21 June 2009.
  20. ^ "Big turnout expected for policeman's funeral". Television New Zealand. 13 May 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  21. ^ "Court hears arguments over Molenaar's estate". 3 News. 20 November 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  22. ^ Savage, Jared (21 November 2009). "Siege killer's partner gets ACC payout". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  23. ^ "Order blocks sale of Molenaar assets". Radio New Zealand. 24 September 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  24. ^ Wall, Tony (21 June 2009). "Molenaar partner: Holmwood no hero". The Sunday Star-Times. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  25. ^ Gower, Patrick (5 December 2009). "2009 New Zealander of the Year: Lenny Holmwood". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  26. ^ "2011 Special Honours list in full". ONE News. 2 April 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2011.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°29′27″S 176°54′10″E / 39.4908°S 176.9028°E / -39.4908; 176.9028