A growing number of criminals are carrying firearms - and they are becoming increasingly ready to "pull the trigger", says Police Association president Chris Cahill.
And he says members of the public need be vigilant in case they find themselves caught in the middle of an armed situation.
"I can't say this is going to be a one-off because it's not. We've had three significant events in less than a week," he told the Herald.
His warnings came after a man crashed a stolen car into a motorist at another intersection before holding a gun to her head, then running over her foot as he drove off in her Suzuki vehicle.
He then crashed into a second motorist at an intersection in Penrose and pointed a gun at their head before being shot by police, which allowed the member of the public to escape.
The incident happened less than 24 hours after a deadly firearms standoff in Hamilton, where up to 10 shots were fired by an armed man who was in a car. Police fired back and the man was shot and died soon after.
That came after another Hamilton-based officer was shot in the shoulder and arm by a passenger during a routine traffic stop on Saturday.
Cahill urged members of the public to get down and move as far away as possible if they found themselves caught up in an situation involving firearms.
"I'm not going to say this is something they won't come across because, unfortunately, more often than ever before, it is something that occurs."
He said one solution was training up more officers to attend firearms incidents "wherever possible".
"Currently we have an armed offenders' squad but they have to be called out to these events.
"We want to explore the ability to have highly trained officers available readily to respond to events as they occur."
Cahill said he supported more officers being armed.
The Herald revealed in December that more than 350 people had suffered firearms-related injuries in the last five years.
Figures released exclusively to the Herald by the city's three district health boards under the Official Information Act showed medical staff at Auckland's major hospitals treated 355 people for firearms injuries between January 2016 and December 2020.
More than half of the wounded were treated at Middlemore Hospital.
Meanwhile, frontline police staff reported becoming increasingly worried about their safety in the months following the fatal shooting of Constable Matthew Hunt in West Auckland last year.
Eli Epiha has admitted murdering Hunt but denies the attempted murder of his partner, Constable David Goldfinch, who was shot four times.
Epiha is standing trial at the High Court in Auckland this week alongside Natalie Bracken, who denies being an accessory after the fact of murder.
Figures obtained by the Herald showed there were 18 cases where a gun was fired, or pointed in the direction of, a police officer, police car or a police dog, in the 10 months following Hunt's death.
That didn't include other cases where firearms have been found at an incident but not used as weapons.
Frontline officers say those statistics are only the tip of the iceberg, as it's increasingly common to find guns in cars they pull over.
"I think the public would be shocked if they had a true grasp of how dangerous it is out there," said one officer who has previously been shot at while trying to stop a car that was believed to have been involved in a robbery.
"If I told any of my family about the jobs I attend now they wouldn't be impressed. I actually lie to my family now. You don't want them to worry."
Recent shooting incidents
July 15: Auckland
A man pulled a woman from her car and held her at gunpoint before fleeing in her car, then held another member of the public at gunpoint during a lengthy pursuit on Great South Rd in Auckland.
Police shot the man and he was taken to hospital.
July 14: Hamilton
Up to 10 shots were heard as a violent stand-off unfolded and a man was shot and killed by police officers in Hillcrest, Hamilton.
No police officers were shot, but one fell and suffered injuries in the incident.
July 10: Hamilton
A police officer was shot in the shoulder and arm in Hamilton by a passenger of a car pulled over in a routine traffic stop.
April 15: Auckland
A shooting at Auckland's 5-star Sofitel hotel at the Viaduct was blamed by authorities on a rift between the Head Hunters and the Mongels gangs.
A string of people have been arrested following the incident.
March 3: Auckland
Tangaru Noere Turia was shot dead by police in Auckland's Papatoetoe after he came out of a property "brandishing" a shotgun.
In the weeks before his death, Turia absconded from his court-ordered bail address while subject to electronically-monitored bail.
December 6: Auckland
A gun was fired at an Auckland viaduct bar Dr Rudi's Rooftop after people who were asked to leave the bar became annoyed.
The firearm was discharged into the foyer ceiling.
Nobody was injured or arrested.
- Additional reporting by Elizabeth Binning and Lane Nichols