Police have confirmed two of the victims of a fatal Hamilton shooting were lying in bed when a gunman entered the property and opened fire.
Robert Nelson, 23, died shielding his partner in bed in the shooting early this morning at a house in Matthews Cres, Melville. His body remains at the property.
Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Patterson said the shooting appeared to have been targeted to the address and therefore the public should not be scared for their safety.
He confirmed the shooter was still on the loose.
"We are going to work hard to find out who these people are," Patterson said.
Two armed offender squad men with high-powered rifles are guarding the crime scene, while forensics staff dressed head-to-toe in white suits assess the evidence.
A pathway has been laid out from the front of the property, down the side of the house.
A Herald reporter at the scene said it looked like a shooter had come in the front gate and then walked around to the left and gone through the side gate to the back of the house.
The street has been cornered off but residents' living side-by-side the property were still able to get in and out.
He could not comment on whether the fatal shooting was gang-related.
Patterson confirmed two of the victims were in bed and getting ready for sleep when they were shot.
Nelson's 20-year-old partner Kahlee and a 17-year-old male also at the house, believed to be a family friend, were also seriously injured.
The two injured victims were taken to Waikato Hospital.
This morning a hospital spokesperson said the woman was in a serious condition in the High Dependency Unit, while the teenager was critical in Intensive Care.
A fourth person at the property was not injured.
Nelson's family is stunned by the murder.
His sister Erin said they believed the attack was random or a case of mistaken identity by a gang. She stressed her brother was an "innocent person caught in the crossfire".
"Somebody arrived to the house and attacked about four people inside. There was another person holed up inside who wasn't injured," she said.
Her brother had died "covering his girlfriend" from the bullets, Erin said.
She was "absolutely gutted" and described her brother as her "best friend" and a "fun, happy guy" with a "bright future".
"He was a year older than me. His name was Robert and I am Erin so we were Burt and Ernie you know. It is absolutely gutting for us," she said.
"He had such a bright future. He was a chef and just getting his apprenticeship sorted out and about to move on to real nice restaurant soon.
"He will be remembered as the fun, happy guy. He always had a smile on his face and a little sparkle in his eye. He was the life of the party and has been taken so savagely."
Erin Nelson said the two injured victims had severe injuries and were in intensive care. One of them had gone through surgery.
She believed the two victims had also been shot.
Robert Nelson also had a younger brother and two half siblings.
"The family loves him and the world lost a really great person. He has touched a lot of people's lives and they are now going to be missing such a bright person," Erin Nelson said.
"We have a really good network down here so we will be fine, and he was part of one of the biggest hospitality groups in Hamilton which he was quite a big part of, so we will have a lot of support."
Tributes for the young man are also beginning to mount on social media.
Nelson's half-brother Koenraad Nelson posted a simple, "I'll see u vallaha [sic] my brother" with reference to Norse mythology of the hall of slain warriors.
Stormforce Gym head coach Norm Graham also posted a heartfelt tribute.
"It is with deep sadness and regret that this horrible tragedy has happened to one of our Stormforce boys.
"Shot and killed while protecting his partner, who is in serious condition. To his immediate family, and to his many friends, our thoughts, prayers and love go out to you all at this sad time. RIP Rob, the world will never be the same without you mate," the company's Facebook page read.
While Graham's personal post said the young man was "one of the most kind-hearted guys to walk the planet".
"Our prayers are with you at this time Kahlee and Issac. To my friend Robert "Lord" Nelson, R.I.P young man, you will be missed by us all mate," he wrote.
Another friend posted, "I will never forget that beautiful smile and laugh I can't believe you're gone I honestly can't get over this".
A neighbour to the Matthews Cres address said she slept right through the incident but knew the family who lived at the address.
"They are fabulous neighbours. I am quite upset about it," she said.
"They were really kind and nice to me.
"They never have parties so I don't know what the hell is going on."
The neighbour said there were two armed offenders squad members guarding the property.
A scene examination will commence today, with scientists from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) called in.
Anyone with information relating to the incident is asked to contact the investigation team at the Hamilton Police Station, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.