The shooting took place after the 31-year-old woman, who is in a serious condition, was trapped in a cul-de-sac near Ilford, Essex. Police fired a fourth shot, but it missed.
Scotland Yard have refused to say whether the woman, who was pursued after she was reported to have robbed a man at gun point, fired at the police officers. A gun was recovered from the woman's car, but police have not yet revealed whether it was genuine or a replica.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that shots may have been fired from the car and an attempt was made to ram the police armed response vehicle.
It is extremely unusual for a woman to be shot by the police during a confrontation. An inquiry has been launched into the incident, which happened on Sunday evening after reports that the woman had been spotted with a gun.
Firing broke out after the car was cornered in a cul-de-sac, called Royal Close, after being pursued through the residential streets of Seven Kings. The woman was taken to a hospital in Essex, where she was described as in a serious but stable condition. An investigation by the Metropolitan Police Complaints Investigation Bureau, overseen by the independent Police Complaints Authority.
A PCA spokesman said: "Police officers fired four shots. As of now, it has not been confirmed exactly why the incident happened."
- Jason Bennetto, Crime CorrespondentReuse content