A “lucky” police officer shot in the head is awake in a Melbourne hospital after an early morning pursuit turned violent.
A gunman is on the run after firing a 12 gauge shotgun out of a car window as police tried to pull him over.
A 31-year-old male first constable was driving a police van he and his partner it tried to intercept a sedan with two people inside at Moonee Ponds about 3.40am on Tuesday.
The shot was fired through the open driver’s side window and into the head of the officer.
He took a number of shotgun pellets to the head but is awake and in a stable condition in the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Detective Inspector Steve Clark from the armed crime squad said the constable and his fellow first constable, 30, tried to pull over a black Ford sedan on Robinson St when it did a U-turn.
“They followed that car down to the school behind me … and tried to block the car in,” Det Insp Clark told reporters on Tuesday.
“The car’s done a U-turn as it’s driven out. A single shot from a 12-gauge shotgun has been discharged.
“Pellets have gone through the open window injuring the first constable, who was driving that van.”
Det Insp Clark said the attack could have been much worse. The wounded officer’s male colleague was not injured.
“It’s really only good luck rather than good management that’s resulted in our police member not being more seriously injured,” he said.
Det Insp Clark said it was concerning a routine intercept had become so violent and the officer was extremely lucky.
“It just shows how dangerous police work can be. Fortunately on this occasion, it’s a good news story rather than a bad news story,” he said.
A Ford Escape matching the description of the offender’s car was found burnt out in Coburg North but police haven’t yet confirmed if it is the vehicle involved.
The gun and the gunman haven’t been found.
Local resident Bob described how he was woken by a loud bang outside his house in the early hours of the morning.
“There’s been other vehicles in this street at night doing burn outs and speeding so I just thought it was one of them,” he said.
“I just heard the vehicle take off and that was it.”