Police are still hunting for a man who shot at officers with a semi-automatic rifle in the Waikato town of Morrinsville.
Three officers were shot at after a red Holden Commodore sped through the centre of the town and stopped on Kuranui Road, to the south of Morrinsville, early yesterday.
One officer was forced to dive for cover and two back-up officers returned fire.
Police are speaking to two occupants of the car but have launched a massive manhunt for the driver, who had been armed with a military-style semi-automatic rifle.
Waikato district police commander Superintendent Bruce Bird described the attack as frightening and like nothing he had come across in 40 years of policing.
Police said Morrinsville residents were right to be vigilant, with the gunman still on the loose and potentially armed.
A sole officer was shot at on Kuranui Rd in the early hours of yesterday morning, after he pursued a driver who was speeding through town.
Mr Bird said everybody should be vigilant because police did not know what the mindset of the offender is.
Matamata-Piako mayor Jan Barnes said locals were supporting each other.
She said everyone needed to lock their doors, look out for their neighbours, be vigilant, and try to stay safe.
A scene examination at Kuranui Road, on the outskirts of the Waikato town, is expected to continue today.
The road will stay closed between Avenue Road and Scott Road until police have finished examining the scene.
There have been no further updates from police other than to confirm the gunman is still on the loose.
Resident Craig Burmester told NZME he and his wife were woken by gunfire about 12.15am. There were an “awful” lot of shots, he said.
“It was pretty scary. It’s just lucky no one was injured,” he said when he realised it was a shoot out.
Fairfax reported it understood one of the firearms involved was an AK47-style rifle, and a red Holden was left with five bullet holes in the windscreen while a nearby police car had more shots through its rear window.
In their statement, police say they had attempted to stop a speeding vehicle on Thames Street before it was stopped on Kuranui Road.
“One of the occupants got out and shot at police. A second police unit arrived and fired shots in return,” Mr Bird said.
The three officers then took cover in nearby farmland before the armed offenders squad arrived.
The police Eagle helicopter was also involved in the manhunt. NZN