Paul Lasslett, one of the two Omanawa shooting victims, is remembered as a loving father new grandfather and kind neighbour. Sandra Conchie and NZME report
One of the men shot dead at his Omanawa property has been remembered as a good friend and kind neighbour who would lend a hand to anyone in need.
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NZME understands one of the two men shot dead is 44-year-old Paul Lasslett, who owned the Ormsby Lane property where the shootings took place on Tuesday night.
Police are yet to officially name the victims.
A grieving friend, who didn't want to be named, remembered Lasslett as a loving father and a kind man with a quick wit.
"He loved people," the friend said.
The friend said Lasslett's mother was heartbroken about his death.
"She is broken - that's her baby. He had the most beautiful smile, he was really happy."
Lasslett had only days before becoming a grandfather. He is survived by his daughter, 21.
"He didn't get a chance to be a granddad," his friend said.
"I'm blown away that such a nice, giving, loving person has been taken far too young."
Another grieving friend, who also asked not to be named, said he had been told Lasslett was one of the victims.
"It's been a huge shock to our tight little community. You never expect anything like this to happen on your doorstep, particularly when it involves someone you know well.
"Paul was so excited about becoming a grandfather and we talked about it several times. When I spoke to him on Monday, he was delighted to tell me he was now a grandfather too, and then this happens out the blue ... It's a tragic state of affairs."
The man also remembered Lasslett for his wit and generosity.
"Paul was always smiling, happy and joking. He was a good friend and a kind neighbour and he would lend a hand to anybody who needed it.
"We shared a common interest in trucks and cars and if you ever needed to borrow one of his vehicles, it was never a problem. That was the kind of person he was," he said.
The resident said his thoughts were with Lasslett's family, including his mother and brother who also lived in Tauranga.
The man said he did not know the identity of the other victim, but there had been lots of comings and goings from the property.
There was still a huge police presence at the property conducting an extensive search yesterday, he said.
"About eight police officers are conducting grid by grid searches on their hands and knees looking for any evidence and there are a lot of police photographers and detectives too.
"The search is centred around the big shed which Paul lived in and along the edge of the driveway."
A police tracker dog was also involved in the search, he said.
"[Wednesday] night they set up massive floodlights on the property ... the whole place was lit up like a Christmas tree I assume so police could carry on their investigation."
Police confirmed a scene examination was ongoing at the property with support from ESR and an Auckland specialist search group.
Two Armed Offenders Squad members were guarding the front entrance to the property, and an armed police officer is standing guard at the entrance to Ormsby Lane.
A homicide inquiry is under way but no arrests have been made and a post-mortem examination was due to take place yesterday, a police spokesperson said.
Inspector Clifford Paxton, the Western Bay of Plenty area commander, said he wanted to reassure the community that police were treating recent incidents in the district "extremely seriously".
"The safety and wellbeing of everyone is our priority. We acknowledge the alarm that these recent incidents have caused," Paxton said.
"We know tensions between gangs have caused fears for safety to arise, however, we would like to reassure people that general members of the public are not the focus of those tensions.
"Gang violence in our community is not acceptable and will not be tolerated ... and we have increased the police presence in the area."
Paxton said the community can assist by letting police know when they see anything of concern or any suspicious activities.
"We want to know. We are already seeing good support from our communities and we'd like to thank them for that support today."
Anyone who has immediate concerns for the safety of themselves or others should call 111, or phone 105 to report anything of a less urgent nature, Paxton said.