A former army combat medic who was shot by police was reportedly holding a replica rifle at the time.
Armed officers were called to a concern for safety for the man on Wednesday afternoon before he was seriously injured.
The incident happened at the Knoll, in Runcorn, shortly after 1pm when police approached him and told him to put his hands up.
It is believed that as they moved closer, the veteran picked up the large blue firearm and aimed it towards them.
Two shots were then fired by police before the man was rushed to hospital by paramedics.
Speaking to the ECHO, a close friend of the man said he had served in the British Army for 22 years before being discharged and had previously suffered with his mental health.
He also reported that after being taken to Halton Hospital, the man had to undergo surgery to save his life and is currently still receiving treatment.
Cheshire Police have referred themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct over the shooting, which is normal procedure when an officer discharges their firearm.
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In a statement, the force said: "At around 1.20pm on Wednesday 12 August police were called to concerns for the safety of a man at an address in Runcorn.
"Officers swiftly attended the scene and located the man at the Knoll.
"During the incident a police firearm was discharged. The man sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital."
A large cordon was put in place at the scene in Palacefields on Wednesday as officers launched their investigation into the shooting.
Detectives and forensic officers were seen in the area directly after the incident while other officers were seen going door to door to reassure the community and speak to witnesses.
Chief Inspector Sarah Heath, from Runcorn Local Policing Unit, said: “I would like to reassure the local community that this is an isolated incident and there is no risk to the public.
“Officers will remain in the area as we continue with our enquiries and I would urge anyone with any concerns to speak to an officer.
"In line with normal procedure, the incident has been referred to the Independent office for Police Conduct.”
Anyone who witnessed the incident, or anyone with any video footage, is asked to contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting IML 778324 or visit https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report.