A shooter who opened fire on police in rural Morrinsville is still on the run this morning.

Three officers were forced to flee for their lives into surrounding paddocks as the gunman opened fire on their cars just after midnight on Sunday.

A scene examination at Kuranui Rd, on the outskirts of the Waikato town, is expected to continue today.

The road will stay closed between Avenue Rd and Scott Rd until police have finished examining the scene. They thanked motorists and residents of the town for their patience.


There were no further updates from police overnight other than to confirm the gunman was still on the loose.

Yesterday, police described the chilling moment the gunman got out of his car, then stood and aimed his weapon at an officer before firing a volley of bullets at him.

Superintendent Bruce Bird, of Waikato Police, revealed more details about the incident.

"The vehicle that was being pursued stopped and engaged that police officer in a substantial amount of gunfire," Bird said.

"We believe the weapon that was used was a military-style semi-automatic firearm."

The incident occurred after a police officer spotted a vehicle speeding in the area. A pursuit began when the car failed to stop.

However, when it did stop at Kuranui Rd, the officer found himself being shot at.

Bird said as the officer sought cover and called for back-up, the gunshots continued.

"When the other officers arrived, our information is that that attack intensified and we returned fire as well."

The then three officers returned fire towards the gunman and later took cover before the Waikato Armed Offenders Squad arrived.

Two people - a man and a woman aged between 25 and early 30s - who were in the vehicle are now speaking to police.

However, the third person involved - the gunman - remains on the loose and is possibly still armed, as police have not yet recovered a weapon. The relationship between the man, woman and the gunman is not yet known.

No one was physically injured, but the officers involved are being offered support, Bird said.

It is not known whether the gunman has been injured and authorities are yet to put out a description for him.

A Herald reporter at the scene said the windscreen of a police car parked on Kuranui Rd is littered with about 20 bullet holes while the car alleged to have held the offenders remains in a ditch.

The driver's door of the patrol car, from when the officer has appeared to have fled for his life, remains open.

It has come to a stop on the wrong side of the road and fluid appears to have leaked from the vehicle which was shot at several times.

The red, 2015 Holden Commodore - used by the offenders - has about six bullet holes in the driver's window. The rear passenger door and the boot are open. The vehicles remain in the middle of a police cordon on Kuranui Rd.

The number plate is 1AZIF1 and anyone who saw the vehicle earlier in the night or recognises it is being asked to contact police.

Bird praised the bravery of the officers involved, as well as local residents who have helped and supported officers in the last few hours.

Waikato Police Superintendent Bruce Bird speaks to media about the police shooting in Morrinsville.

Posted by nzherald.co.nz on Saturday, 12 August 2017

The public is being warned to stay alert and to contact police immediately if they see, hear or find anything that may be linked to the incident.

"We would urge any people in the community to be extremely vigilant. If you note anything suspicious, contact us immediately," Bird said.

"We've put all our focus, at this stage, to apprehending the gunman.

"Potentially, he could still be armed."

Bird said the intensity of the attack against police officers was something he personally had not come across in the 40 years he has served as an officer and again urged people to be vigilant.

"We just don't know the mindset of this particular offender is."

Earlier, a resident described seeing four police officers running for their lives as they were shot at by occupants of a car they were pursuing.

Craig Burmester was woken at his Morrinsville home by dozens of gun shots before seeing four dark figures running up Kuranui Rd towards his property.

It was when he called police to report the incident that he learned those figures were actually officers running for their lives.

It was just after midnight when Burmester was woken by his wife.

Craig Burmester was woken at his Morrinsville home by dozens of gun shots before seeing four dark figures running up Kuranui Rd towards his property. Photo / Belinda Feek
Craig Burmester was woken at his Morrinsville home by dozens of gun shots before seeing four dark figures running up Kuranui Rd towards his property. Photo / Belinda Feek

She had heard sirens first and was concerned as they knew their daughter had been out for the night. She checked to make sure she was home - she was - before peering out the window and hearing shots about 12.15am.

"It was quite a few shots," Burmester said.

"And then I woke up and then there was an awful lot of gun shots, you know, six or 10, and you could tell there were two different guns.

"It originally sounded like fireworks or a paint shop exploding, we didn't know it was gun shots, so we both went outside and had a look and we heard more from the guns and there was a police car that had its lights going and we saw four figures running up the road."

The shot-up vehicle on Kuranui Rd, Morrinsville after a shootout with police last night. Photo / Dean Purcell
The shot-up vehicle on Kuranui Rd, Morrinsville after a shootout with police last night. Photo / Dean Purcell

As it was foggy and dark, they weren't sure who the people were so he rang police.

"Police got back to me and said 'No, it's our people, it's okay'," Burmester said.

"I don't know if they were running away from the gunfire, I think they were."

He said police called him back soon after and told him to stay inside.

"Police rung back and told us to keep the lights off, keep the doors locked and then half an hour later rang and said the same thing, keep the lights off, don't answer the door. So the police were quite good."

Burmester saw the officers walk back to the scene about half an hour after hearing the shots.

He said it was hard to work out where the shots were coming from as the noise was bouncing off a river which runs next to their property.

However, when they heard the police Eagle helicopter about 1.30am, they knew it was serious.

"I thought somebody must have been killed with the amount of interest in it."

"It was pretty scary. It's just lucky no one was injured."

Armed Offenders Squad officers also arrived and the Burmesters watched as they walked around and through buildings on neighbouring properties, making sure the offenders weren't in there.

Burmester hadn't slept all night and he expected his wife and daughter to also be tired as they had a pre-planned trip to Auckland.

The police Eagle helicopter has also been deployed to the area and is assisting.

Cordons have been relaxed so Kuranui Rd is closed between Avenue Rd South and Scott Rd, with officers placed at each end.

Occupants of a Kuranui Rd house in the middle of the small cordon are trapped inside and can be seen standing outside getting a closer look at what's happened.

Another resident, Kaye Turner, said she woke to a helicopter going over the area for a long time from 2am.

She said from her home, about 3km from Morrinsville, she saw what looked like red flashing lights towards the town.