ARMED RESPONSE: Armed Whakatane police officers man the Thornton Hall Road cordon. Photo Troy Baker D8941-02

Police have arrested two of the three suspects who put Thornton into lockdown yesterday.

Local police, the Armed Offenders Squad from Tauranga and the Eagle Helicopter from Auckland searched for several hours for the suspects after an alleged shooting in Whakatane.

Senior sergeant Mark van der Kley said police arrested the two suspects in Kawerau just after 10am this morning.

Mr van der Kley said police received a report just after midday yesterday that the occupants of a vehicle had allegedly shot at another vehicle at the Hinemoa Street roundabout in Whakatane.

Police then located the suspects’ vehicle empty at Thornton and began a large-scale search for the occupants.

Armed police blocked off Thornton Hall Road and nearby home childcare providers, farms and residences went into lockdown.

Mr van der Kley said while police have no one in custody at the moment they do have some known suspects.