A man has been shot dead in Whanganui.

Detective Inspector Ross McKay said police have started a homicide investigation in Whanganui after a fatal shooting incident in Puriri Street, Castlecliff, this morning about 9.40am.

The offenders remain outstanding, however it was believed those involved were known to each other and were known to police, he said.

McKay said additional staff have been sent to Whanganui to assist.

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"As inquiries are ongoing, and in response to this incident, the Whanganui community will notice an increased police presence.

"There is no immediate cause for concern to the general public."

Officers at the scene in Puriri St.
Officers at the scene in Puriri St.

A St John spokeswoman said two ambulances were called to a property at 9.43am but no transport to hospital was required. She referred any other queries to police.

A member of the public said she saw a body under a pink sheet.

A group of up to 20 people were inside the police cordon, some visibly upset. One woman was heard screaming: "Yous arrived too late."

Puriri Street cordoned off after reports of gunshots.
Puriri Street cordoned off after reports of gunshots.

A resident said he heard three gun shots and said he saw gang members running from the scene.

Another resident said she heard two gun shots.

Armed police are at the scene.

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Earlier today police warned the public to avoid Puriri St, parts of which were under cordon.

Te Kura O Kokohuia on Matipo St, which runs into Puriri St, has posted a notice on its Facebook page saying it is in lockdown.

"This is to inform you that your kids are safe and warm," kura principal Tuhi Smith wrote.

Staff at Barsanti Kindergarten in Rogers St said they had no comment to make.

Puriri Street cordoned off after reports of gunshots.
Puriri Street cordoned off after reports of gunshots.