– The policeman who fired two shots at a speeding car during an operation targeting hoons was alone and in plain clothes when he pulled the trigger.

As Chief Commissioner Ken Lay said police shooting at cars had become a worrying trend, detectives were hunting for the men who escaped after trying to run down the officer.

Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius said the constable feared for his life when he shot at the car in Melbourne’s south-east on Tuesday night.

The officer, who missed the car with both shots, had been a plain clothes spotter during an operation in Carrum Downs to smash a hoon-driving ring that had terrorised residents between Dandenong and Frankston in recent weeks.

More than 100 cars had gathered for street drag races when police swooped.

Mr Cornelius said it was possible the driver of the car had not realised the man pointing a gun at him was a police officer.

Mr Lay revealed on Fairfax Radio on Wednesday that at least six cars had been shot at by police in the past 12 months.

Mr Cornelius said police were trained not to fire at cars unless absolutely necessary, but he believed the officer involved in the latest incident feared he would be killed if he did not shoot.

Forensic police have not recovered the bullets from the semi-automatic pistol.

The policeman had contacted his colleagues when hoons approached an area in a factory car park on Frankston Gardens Drive about 10:30 pm.

He then noticed a car leaving the scene and walked towards it to try to stop the driver. The driver, who had two passengers on board, sped towards the officer, who fired the shots while moving for cover.

The driver dumped the car shortly afterwards and fled with two other men. Nobody was injured in the incident.

Police were unable to find the men despite using a helicopter, the dog squad and officers on the ground in the search.

Mr Cornelius said police had been unable to identify the men, but had several leads.

He said the intelligence-based operation had been successful with 70 cars inspected, 20 drivers issued with defect notices, 20 P-plate drivers slapped with notices for driving high-powered cars and 30 people told their cars required further inspection.

But Mr Cornelius said police would determine whether better planning of the operation could have prevented the shooting occurring. “We have made it clear to our members in recent times that shooting at vehicles is inherently risky,” he said.

The Frankston Crime Investigation Unit is investigating. That probe will be overseen by the professional standards department, as the incident involves a firearm being discharged while an officer was on duty.

Carrum Downs has long been linked to hoon activity – Nino Bucci


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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