A massive man hunt is still under way in Ashburton after a shooting this morning in which two people died and another was critically injured.
Lake Hood village is now in lock down, with the settlement evacuated as police continue to hunt shooting suspect John Tully.
Ashburton is in a rising state of insecurity as he remains on the run with police still scouring the Ashburton River from the Tinwald bridge east to Lake Hood, with cordons in place at Grahams Road and the entrance to Lake Hood as the search intensifies.
Tully is a person of interest in their inquiry into the shooting.
They had earlier surrounded a house on Willow Street follow a suspected citing but it was cleared.
Police also called in the fire service who unloaded a drone, a camera mounted on a miniature helicopter, to continue the search of the river bank.
They are not currently looking for anyone else in relation to the deaths.
They are warning people to stay in their homes and to avoid going outside where possible.
The shootings occurred just after 10am this morning when a man wearing camouflage clothing and a balaclava entered the Ashburton WINZ office. He left a short time later, after firing several rounds from what is believed to have been a sawn-off shot gun.
Canterbury area police commander superintendent Gary Knowles said the search was being conducted across the greater Ashburton area but was currently focussed on the Ashburton River bed.
Tully is described as of medium height and solid build and is about 48 years of age. A photo has been released by police, but it is believed he now has a shaven head.
“We’re advising people if they don’t have to go out, then don’t. People need to be prudent and they need to stay safe,” Mr Knowles said.
Police say the man must not be approached.
Businesses near the scene of the shooting have closed for the day with much of the town centre on lock down, with schools also taking precautions.
Anyone seeing him should contact the police on (03) 363 7400
or by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.