A Murupara teenager accused of stealing a police car while handcuffed remains on the run.
A manhunt is underway for the 18-year-old following an incident that saw a police officer fire two shots on Oregon Drive in the Bay of Plenty town about 7pm on Tuesday.
The police car was found abandoned on Gibbs Rd later that night with its police-issued firearm still secured inside.
Bay of Plenty Police District Commander, Superintendent Andy McGregor, says they are still searching for the fugitive.
"While we are still working to establish the exact details of what occurred, we can confirm that two shots were fired by a police officer during the incident.
"This was a serious incident and we are very focused on understanding exactly how it occurred and any lessons which can be learnt from it."
A witness, who asked to remain anonymous, said the dramatic sequence of events began when the officer pulled a truck driver over.
"As he was being cuffed, the person got into the patrol car and drove off," the woman said. "The cop jumped into the offender's truck and chased him."
About six patrol cars and the police helicopter were used to find the missing police car.
As no police handcuffs have been found, police conceded there was still a possibility the 18-year-old may still be wearing them.
A full review into police handling of the incident was now underway.