A Russian man and former special forces soldier who died in a suspected suicide as armed police swarmed around his car in Christchurch had previously been involved in a two-day negotiation with officers, court documents reveal.

Artemiy Vldimirovich Dubovsky, also known as Troy Dubovskiy, died during the early hours of Wednesday after a more than three-hour standoff with police.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said in a statement police were investigating if Dubovskiy had any link to the March 15 Christchurch terror attacks but added there was currently "no evidence to suggest this".

The 54-year-old Dubovskiy, who according to a friend was ex Russian special forces and had fought in Afghanistan and Chechnya, arrived in New Zealand in 1997.

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A Herald source said Dubovskiy served in the Soviet Army after being conscripted from Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula before the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

Police found Dubovskiy inside his Mitsubishi Pajero with a critical stab wound. Photo / Dean Purcell
Police found Dubovskiy inside his Mitsubishi Pajero with a critical stab wound. Photo / Dean Purcell

At the age of 35, he was found guilty by a jury in the Christchurch District Court of aggravated burglary and unlawful possession of an imitation firearm.

He was sentenced to four years' imprisonment.

Dubovskiy had burgled a Russian couple he knew, court documents show.

When the pair returned to their home on October 22, 1999 they noticed signs of an intruder.

An armed and balaclava-clad Dubovskiy then confronted the Russians.

Dubovskiy pointed a replica Luger, a German pistol well-known for its use during World War II, at the man's head.

Believing the pistol to be real, the man grappled with Dubovskiy for the gun before escaping with his wife.

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The Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) was alerted but it was not until two days later that Dubovskiy surrendered himself to police with the assistance of a friend and his father.

In his statement to police, Dubovskiy admitted he was the intruder but said he could not recall many aspects of the incident because he was drunk.

Dubovskiy has several other convictions, including firearms offences and assaulting a police officer, and was on bail at the time of the home invasion.

His last offence was in June 2013, the Herald understands.

Dubovskiy father, Vlad Dubovskiy, told Newshub after his son's death: "What I know is my son was a fanatic for [guns] - but just from a technical view."

He denied his son was involved in the March 15 attacks, or linked to the alleged terrorist Brenton Tarrant.

"That's rubbish. He never was terrorist. He was a good man," he said.

Armed police patrolled the cordon after Dubovskiy's standoff with police. Photo / Dean Purcell
Armed police patrolled the cordon after Dubovskiy's standoff with police. Photo / Dean Purcell

Before Dubovskiy died, Bush said officers had raided a St Martins property late on Tuesday and found several firearms after a tip-off from the public.

Police later stopped a car with Dubovskiy inside in the Richmond Park area at about 12.30am on Wednesday.

The Police Negotiation Team spoke with him, while a police helicopter and AOS were also deployed, Bush said.

Members of the public who heard explosions were actually hearing police deploying gas, the commissioner explained.

At about 3.40am, police approached the Mitsubishi Pajero and found Dubovskiy critically injured with what appeared to be a stab wound. A knife was located in the vehicle, but no firearms.

Immediate first aid was provided, but Dubovskiy died at the scene.

His jeep was examined by the New Zealand Defence Force explosive ordnance squad as a precaution but was deemed safe.

"A high-priority investigation is under way to determine whether or not the deceased man posed a threat to the community," Bush said.

"This will include further searches of Christchurch properties and interviews with family and associates."

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has been notified.