POLICE were on Friday night still searching for two of Australia’s most wanted men who opened fire at officers near Mangoplah yesterday afternoon.
Father and son Gino and Mark Stocco, who have been on Australia’s most wanted list for eight years, allegedly fired shots from their silver Nissan Navara after police tried to pull them over on a dirt lane off the Henty Road just after 2pm.
Police claim a passenger leaned out of the window of the car and fired three or four shots from a rifle, one narrowly missing a male officer.
As police frantically tried to reverse, another bullet struck their vehicle.
The Navara sped from the scene and triggered a high-speed police chase.
The chase was aborted but recommenced a short time later on Cheviot Hills Road, where the armed bandits again shot at police.
The incident sparked a major police operation, with more than a dozen police cars, from as far away as Albury and Tumbarumba, descending on a property at the corner of Cheviot Hills and Pulletopp roads south-east of Big Springs.
Late yesterday afternoon, a police command post had been established at the scene as officers scoured the property, while two ambulances were at the scene on standby.
A family with young children, who were not connected to the incident, looked on in disbelief from the front yard of their home, just metres from police.
Officers were last night door-knocking nearby properties and warning residents to lock their homes and cars.
Residents were told the suspects were on foot.
A police helicopter was also searching the area.
The Stoccos are on the run in three states and have warrants issued for arson, assault and malicious damage.
They are also accused of ripping off dozens of people in rural communities.
They were jailed for several months in 2007 in Victoria after they stole the identities of a priest, a soldier serving in Iraq and acquaintances to finance a fake luxury lifestyle on-board a yacht.
Residents are urged not to approach the Stoccos but to notify police on triple-zero.
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