27 Apr 2017

Family of Invercargill shooting victim 'trying to cope'

6:56 pm on 27 April 2017

The familes of those involved in Invercargill's Anzac Day double shooting, which left a woman dead, say they are "trying to cope with what has happened".

The scene of the shooting in Invercargill.

The scene of the shooting in Invercargill: Police said they found a woman dead and a man with gunshot wounds. Photo: RNZ / Lydia Anderson

Constable Ben McLean, 47, has been charged with murdering his estranged wife, Verity McLean, and attempting to murder her new partner, Garry Duggan.

The scene of the shooting at Otepuni Avenue in Newfield remained cordoned off and guarded by private security officers.

Mrs McLean's post mortem was due to be carried out today. Mr McLean and Mr Duggan remained in Southland Hospital.

A spokeswoman, Jane Allen, released a statement this afternoon on behalf of the McLeans and Mrs McLean's family, the Barbers.

"We, as the family of Ben and Verity McLean, acknowledge the tragic circumstances following the events of Tuesday night in Invercargill," she said.

"We are all very shocked and are trying to cope with what has happened as best we can, as a family."

She said the family was grateful to the Invercargill community for their support.

"We have been overwhelmed by kindness and understanding, from family, friends and people within the community, some of whom we have never met."

Ms Allen said the family particularly wanted to thank the police for the "very difficult job they have to do".

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt.

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt Photo: RNZ / Lydia Anderson

Mayor Tim Shadbolt said the city was providing a support network for the families.

He said he had never encountered a similar event in his 23 years as a mayor.

"Invercargill prides itself on being very much a family-friendly city, a very close-knit community, so this affects a lot of people."

The scene of the shooting at Otepuni Ave, Invercargill, cordoned off on Wednesday evening.

Police were called to the house shortly after 8pm on Tuesday. Photo: RNZ / Lydia Anderson

Police Association president Chris Cahill said his representatives met the family this morning.

"We will look at financial help if that's what's required ... as well as psychological counselling if that's what's needed.

"But we're really open to what the family require and then we will consider what's best for them."

The McLeans' nine-year-old son - the youngest of their three children - attends Tisbury School in Invercargill, which was liaising with the authorities to ensure the boy was safe.

The school's board chairperson, Erin Wilson, said the school has opened its doors for families wanting to talk about what happened - and an assembly would be held next week for the children.

She said the school would be very careful with what was said to students about the tragedy.