Armed gardai opened fire after a man hijacked a car which had three children inside waiting for their mother.
The woman had gone into a shop in Limerick city and left the youngsters sitting in the car on the Old Cratloe Road at about 9.15am on Thursday morning.
Gardai said a car thief approached the vehicle, pulled two of the children out, a 12-year-old girl and nine-year-old boy, and took the car.
A mile away from the shop, a three-year-old boy was put out of the car.
Gardai said a 32-year-old man was arrested after officers tailed the stolen vehicle before it crashed at the Delmeges in the Moyross area of the city.
Armed units and uniformed officers ordered the driver to stop before he attempted to ram them.
Gardai said two shots were fired at the scene and the car came to a stop.
A Garda spokesman said no-one was seriously injured.
The arrested man was taken to Henry Street garda station for questioning under section four of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.
The Garda Ombudsman's office has been notified about the incident.