Police are reassuring the Whanganui community that they are doing everything to find the people responsible for a fatal shooting of a man in Castlecliff this morning.
Police launched a homicide investigation after the fatal shooting of a 27-year-old man in Puriri St about 9.40am.
Detective Inspector Ross McKay said the incident was not a random attack and the victim and offenders were known to each other and police.
"We believe the parties involved have links or associations to gangs, but we are in the early stages of the investigation and are unable to comment further on this at this stage," he said.
"As this conflict is between two parties known to each other, we do not believe there is associated risk to members of the general public.
"We want the Whanganui community to feel comfortable that there is a strong police presence in the area working hard to investigate this crime."
Stuff reported the man, a Mongrel Mob member, had died protecting children and other occupants when rival gang members turned up at his home.
Extra officers have been brought in from Manawatu and Taranaki to assist and for that reason people will notice an increased police presence across the city, McKay said.
"People shouldn't be alarmed by this, but reassured.
"Our staff are appropriately trained and equipped to deal with any situation which may arise."
He said the investigation team are following strong lines of inquiry to locate the offenders in this homicide.
Armed police were in Castlecliff and had cordoned off parts of Puriri St this morning.
A group of up to 20 people were inside the police cordon, some visibly upset. One woman was heard screaming: "Yous arrived too late."
Shan Albert, a cousin of the man who was shot, told Stuff that the 27-year-old belonged to a close extended family.
The slain young man had two sons. They are 7 and 3.
"Yes, he was a gang member, but that was just one side of him," Albert told Stuff.
"It was family first. He was a great father and he provided for his family and friends and his kids' mother.
"Everyone knew who he was, but he put on a front. Behind that front he was the softest nicest person. You could easily approach him about anything."
Earlier today a resident said he heard three gunshots and said he saw gang members running from the scene. Another resident said she heard two gunshots.
Police are also ensuring the whanau of the victim are supported at this time.
Police ask that anyone who witnesses anything suspicious or out of the ordinary contacts Whanganui Police on 06 349 0600 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.