The Canterbury gunman shot at after running over police called to his property because he was terrorising his family has been named as Donald Melville Ineson.

The 56-year-old Darfield resident lived at the Bangor Rd property with his family including children who attended the local high school.

South Canterbury Rugby Union chief executive Craig Calder said Ineson's death was a tragic loss to the South Canterbury Rugby family.

He had also been told by people who knew Inerson that he had been a popular character who played in the team.

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Ineson was a former South Canterbury Rugby representative from 1988 to 1990 and played over 25 games for the region and union. His family was from Fairlie and he had been a member of the Mackenzie Rugby Club before moving north.

"He was a lock sort of in the mould of a Brodie Retallick today.

"He also went on and represented what we call the Hanan Shield Districts team (representing South Canterbury, Mid Canterbury and North Otago) and went on and played against two international teams, Australia and Argentina."

Police arrived at the property after 4pm on Sunday after reports a man was threatening his family, including children, with a loaded firearm and had fired a number of shots.

As Ineson sped out of the property he drove directly towards the two officers, hitting one officer who was thrown into the air before landing on the ground.

Police then shot at the vehicle, which turned around and then came to a stop on its own accord.

Two other police officers arrived at the scene to find the man dead in the car.

Police said earlier today they were not sure if it was a police bullet that killed him.

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