City reeling after policeman husband charged with murder of wife and wounding a man. By Kurt Bayer in Invercargill.

The tight-knit southern community of Invercargill, and the New Zealand police "family", are reeling after an Invercargill officer allegedly murdered his wife before trying to kill another man she lived with before turning himself in.

Constable Ben McLean, 47, has been charged with murder and attempted murder over the Anzac Day double shooting in a case police believe could be the first of its kind in modern times.

Verity Ann McLean, also known by the nickname "Bert", died in the shooting and Garry William Duggan suffered several gunshot wounds before he managed to phone emergency services at 8.19pm on Tuesday.

Superintendent Paul Basham, left, and Inspector Mike Bowman spoke of the impact the shooting has had on the police community. Photo / Samuel White
Superintendent Paul Basham, left, and Inspector Mike Bowman spoke of the impact the shooting has had on the police community. Photo / Samuel White

Duggan, who is understood to have been in a relationship with Verity McLean (nee Barber) and lived with her at the industrial property on Otepuni Ave in the suburb on Newfield where the shooting happened, is now in hospital in a stable condition.

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McLean, who was injured in the shooting, was married to Verity McLean. They have three children aged between 9 and 19.

About 40 minutes after the shooting he handed himself in at the Invercargill police station where he worked, police say.

Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt said that in his 23 years as the city's leader he'd never encountered anything so sad. "It's just devastating for this community.

"So many people seem to know personally the people involved, and that makes it all the more tragic in a small, close-knit community such as ours.

"It's just quite hard to deal with."

McLean appeared before Judge Mark Callaghan at a Southland Hospital bedside Invercargill District Court hearing yesterday afternoon. Bail was not sought and he was remanded in custody to May 18.

The scene at Otepuni Ave in Invercargill today after off duty policeman Ben McLean shot his estranged wife and another man last night. Photo / Kurt Bayer
The scene at Otepuni Ave in Invercargill today after off duty policeman Ben McLean shot his estranged wife and another man last night. Photo / Kurt Bayer

Senior officers from outside the Southland district, Inspector Steve Wood from Dunedin and Detective Superintendent Peter Read from Canterbury have been called in to oversee the homicide investigation.

Southern District Commander Superintendent Paul Basham said the move was important to ensure an impartial investigation.

The McLean and Duggan families last night refused to comment - and private security has been placed at the shooting scene and at properties linked to the McLeans - but the tragedy is the talk of the city.

One local, who did not wish to be named, said he knew McLean as a "likeable, professional beat officer".

"We're all absolutely shocked," he said. "Stuff like this never happens in places like Invercargill."

Basham acknowledged the impact the shooting was having on the wider families of the three people involved but also on the "police family" in Invercargill.

"As district commander I am immensely proud of their professionalism and integrity in the way they conducted themselves last night in what were extreme circumstances."

A friend of the McLeans, who knows "all of the parties involved", confirmed to the Herald that the McLeans had not been living together. "All I can think of is those kids. Their whole life has been torn apart."

She said Verity McLean was a "bright, bubbly" person.

"She was a fantastic mum. I've got nothing bad to say about either of them."

Verity McLean's sister this morning declined to comment.

Live at Invercargill Police press conference for alleged Anzac Day double shooting.

Posted by nzherald.co.nz on Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A cordon still surrounded the Otepuni Ave scene last night as investigations continued.

A large police tent has been erected on the footpath as ballistics specialists help police reconstruct events.

Detectives and crime scene experts are back at the scene today.

Forensic specialists in white boiler suits are working at the Otepuni Ave site where McLean and Duggan are said to have been living together.

Ballistics experts are also trying to piece together exactly what happened at the property on Tuesday night.

They can be seen coming and going from a white police tent outside the property in what is a largely industrial street.

A firearm has been recovered, police said, but no police-issue weapon was used in the crime.

Police are asking people to come forward, saying the city had a "tight-knit" community and some people may know more about what happened.

"We are committed to being professional and diligent and our focus is to understand exactly what has happened," Basham said.

- Additional reporting Dubby Henry and Cherie Howie