A shot fired in a gang brawl in Taradale's CBD, on Sunday, struck the rear of a child's car seat, while the child was in it.
The pellet from a shotgun was fire when rival gangs, Mongrel Mob and Black Power, clashed on Sunday about 1pm. Between 30 and 40 people were thought to have been involved in the brawl.
A 25-year-old man received injuries to his head, face and torso from a single gunshot.
He remains in a serious but stable condition at Hawke's Bay Hospital.
"Fortunately the child was unharmed, but this behaviour is completely unacceptable and we are determined to hold those responsible to account," said Detective Inspector Rob Jones.
"Tensions between the Mongrel Mob and Black Power have continued to escalate in recent months with Police investigating a number of serious incidents and outbreaks of violence in public places – many of which have been witnessed by members of the public," Jones said.
"Police urge anyone who may have information about either of these incidents to come forward.
"We would also like to hear from anyone with CCTV or dash cam footage that may assist these investigations."
Police in Eastern District now have a directive to carry firearms and members of the public could expect a heightened police presence as enquires continue, Jones said.
It's understood witnesses heard gunshots near the shopping centre's McDonald's restaurant, with one saying golf clubs were also involved.
There were about a dozen officers on the scene with the area evacuated and diversions in place around the Gloucester St roundabout outside McDonald's.
The injured man has had extra security measures placed around him at Hawke's Bay Hospital.
On Monday, a DHB spokeswoman said the injured man in his 20s was in a stable condition.
"The hospital was not placed in lock-down. However, there was an extra security presence, including at hospital entrance/exits as a result of the incident," she said.
Security measures were in place for the man, she said.