Hamilton shooting victim Robert Nelson will be remembered by his workmates as "a guy who had a smile for everybody".

The 23-year-old died shielding his partner Kahlee in bed in the shooting early this morning at a house in Matthews Cres, Melville.

Nelson worked at Keystone Bar and Restaurant on Victoria St South in Hamilton as a chef.

Aimee Laing, who worked alongside Nelson, spoke to the Herald on behalf of the staff.

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Laing said Nelson had worked there for two years with three of his family members.

"His mum Dannette worked in the Kitchen too, Erin worked causally in front of house and his brother Koenraad was a chef."

She said he was just getting ready to start his apprenticeship to become a qualified chef.

"He loved cooking.

"During his shift it wouldn't matter if he was five hours or five minutes in, when he saw you he always had a smile," Laing said.

Robert Nelson, 23, with his partner Kahlee. Robert was killed in a shooting in Hamilton last night, while Kahlee is in Waikato Hospital with serious injuries. Photo / Supplied
Robert Nelson, 23, with his partner Kahlee. Robert was killed in a shooting in Hamilton last night, while Kahlee is in Waikato Hospital with serious injuries. Photo / Supplied

Among the 35 staff members, Nelson was a well-known colleague.

"He was just a really outgoing guy who got along with everyone and I think a lot of the staff are feeling it.

"He was just a really happy guy. Someone who had a lot of time for everybody."