An eyewitness has described hearing "piercing screams" outside his south Auckland home and seeing police officers Taser a man and pin him to the ground.
Police say two officers could have been killed after an alleged offender ran up to a patrol car last night and pulled the trigger of a cut-down rifle twice at close range.
The gun was loaded and cocked and, had the safety catch not been on, it would have discharged and likely killed at least one officer, police say.
An Ōtāhuhu resident, who did not want to be named, told the Herald he heard screams as he walked outside just before 10pm last night and saw a man being tasered by police.
He said he watched as officers arrested the man and as at least seven patrol cars swarmed the street.
The witness said part of Atkinson Ave was cordoned off until at least 1am, cutting off his driveway.
This morning, he said he saw a detective taking photographs of a grey-coloured Honda Odyssey.
Other residents told the Herald it was like a scene out of a movie, with officers everywhere and a sighting of a rifle.
Counties Manukau West Inspector Naila Hassan said the incident unfolded at 9.35pm when two officers attempted to stop a stolen car.
As they tried to pull the vehicle over the driver got out and ran up to the police car.
Hassan said he then aimed a cut-down rifle at the police officers in the car - and pulled the trigger twice.
Miraculously, the firearm did not discharge as the safety catch was on.
"One of the officers was able to Taser the offender, causing him to drop the firearm,"
"The offender then tried to get into the police car and was tasered a second time."
The man resisted arrest and allegedly punched one of the officers in the face twice.
He then tried to flee the scene.
But the other officer deployed their Taser, which subdued the man.
He was eventually arrested.
A 36-year-old man has since appeared in Manukau District Court today on charges of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, unlawful possession of a pistol, two charges of use of a firearm against a law enforcement officer, injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and unlawful possession of ammunition.
Further charges could follow.
One of the officers received cuts and bruising but did not require medical treatment.
Hassan said it was an "extremely distressing" incident for the staff involved.
"Our community will be horrified by this alarming incident, which could have easily had a tragic outcome for our police officers," she said.
"Our brave staff come to work every day to keep the public safe and the absolute last thing they deserve is to be threatened with a firearm.
"I want to praise the courageous actions of our staff involved, who acted quickly in a highly stressful situation to disarm the alleged offender and ensure not only their own safety, but the safety of our community."
Deputy Commissioner John Tims said the welfare of police staff was the organisation's number-one priority.
"Policing can be unpredictable and that is why it is so important that whenever we have an incident of this nature, we always review the circumstances to ensure that we have the best policy and practice in place in order to support our staff in the field," he said.
"Our staff should not have to deal with these types of situations, but the reality of policing means our officers are put in dangerous situations every day.
"However, our staff are well trained and have a number of tactical options available to them.
"We back our officers to make the appropriate decisions at the time according to the circumstances facing them."