A woman shot dead last night and her police officer husband - alleged to have pulled the trigger - were the parents of three children, a friend says.

A third man was also shot in the Anzac Day incident in Invercargill, and is in a stable condition in hospital this afternoon. Fairfax reported sources confirmed the man was in a relationship with the shot woman.

The friend said the woman and her husband were not living together but were the parents of three children aged between 9 and 19.

"All I can think of is those kids. Their whole life has been torn apart."


She believed no children were present when the shooting took place just after 8pm on Otepuni Ave, in the suburb of Newfield.

A source told the Herald the shooter was an off-duty policeman and the friend also confirmed the man was a police officer.

The friend said she knew "all of the parties involved".

"It's been a hugely shocking day. It's stunned a lot of people ... all their focus is on the kids."

The woman killed was a "bright, bubbly" person, the friend said.

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

The mother of the police officer earlier reportedly told Fairfax she didn't know how her son was.

"I'm holding up okay, I've got a lot of friends and family. It's a very, very long story."

She told Fairfax she did not know the other man involved.

Southern District Commander Superintendent Paul Basham said in a statement this afternoon a third person, a man, is also being treated in hospital and assisting police with the investigation.

Detectives were not looking for anyone else in connection with the shooting, Basham said.

They understood the interest in what had happened.

"[But] police are constrained from commenting on these reports at this immediate time. There is a legal process we need to work through before we are in a position to comment any further.

"Police hope to be in a position to provide further information later today once these legal issues have been considered."