Two people remain on the run after a lone police officer unleashed a hail of gunfire at a car that was driven into him on the side of a highway.
A witness says the solo officer was protecting himself after one of a duo tried to repeatedly ram him with a car, smashing into his patrol car on the gravel edge of a driveway at Duck Creek near Hikuai, on Monday night.
Police are also investigating whether a double barrelled shotgun found about 500 metres south from the scene on Hikuai Settlement Rd is linked.
Both the man and woman believed to involved are known to police and fled the dramatic night time altercation in a stolen Subaru Impreza.
Across the road one resident was home with his wife and grandchildren when the shots rang out.
“There was probably six or eight shots. Bang, bang, bang at the back door,” he said.
“One tried to take the policeman out as he was getting out of his car and then had another go at him with the car,” said the man.
“[The officer] was protecting himself. I think they put about six shots into the Subaru.”
Around 10pm the officer in a marked patrol car spotted two vehicles – a late model silver Holden and a Subaru – driven separately by the pair.
One of the cars was believed to have been involved in a burglary at Cooks Beach on Sunday, 27 August, Waikato district commander Superintendent Bruce Bird said.
The other car had been stolen in that burglary.
Bird said one of the vehicles had been pulled over by police.
“As the officer was speaking to the driver of that car, the second car drove past, then reversed at speed towards the police officer.
“The officer took cover behind his police car but the driver of the Holden rammed the police car several times.
The officer drew his gun, firing an unknown number of shots into the rear windscreen as he took cover.
Across the road the resident said the Subaru came tearing back towards the stopped car.
“The Subaru came in and (has) taken his door off. All I saw was a body come out of the car and go down on the ground.”
The next thing he heard was the officer yelling “stay down, stay down,” he said.
“Then the car came back and I thought he’s gonna run over her. He backed around to pick her up.”
In the midst of the exchange, the driver began ramming everything to get away, he said.
“He was just panicking, ramming everything, going berserk.”
“We heard the tyres screaming off.”
The pair fled back over the Kopu-Hikuai Rd in a Subaru Impreza, registration number ASY550.
“The officer was okay. We waited until the other cops arrived to give him a hand,” said the man.
Bird said both offenders fled in the second car which was last seen heading towards Thames on SH25.
It was originally red in colour but has been spray-painted black.
“Police are appealing for any sightings of the car since 10pm last night, and would also like to hear from anyone who has information which will help us locate the two offenders.”
A section of the highway where the exchange took place was cordoned off on Tuesday while police conducted a scene examination.
About 500 metres along the road to Pauanui the silver late model Holden sat abandoned on the gravel outside a driveway.
Next to it sat a marked patrol car with damage to the driver’s door which remained open.
“There’s a whole lot of bullet shells lying on the road,” said the man.
Police would not yet comment on how many shots may have been fired.
Anyone with information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.