Police say they are sufficiently resourced to deal with any backlash following the fatal shooting of a man with suspected gang affiliations in Whanganui today.
Detective Inspector Ross McKay, central district crime manager, said a 27-year-old local man was fatally shot on a Puriri Street property this morning, sparking a homicide investigation codenamed Operation Nguru.
A gang affiliate, who would not be named, told the Chronicle that gang members from throughout the country were headed to Whanganui and that local gang affiliates had been told to "get out of town."
"There's some real angry fellas on the way."
However, McKay said police were not expecting a build-up of gang members and that the Whanganui community had nothing to fear.
"We have sufficient police numbers to deal with the situation but we do no believe that it will escalate."
Police officers from Manawatu and Taranaki were called to Whanganui and are working on the case. McKay refused to say how many police were involved, but did say their numbers were "sufficient" and that officers would join and leave the inquiry as needed.
"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," McKay said.
The dead man was shot at a Puriri Street home at about 9.45 this morning. Police said the shooting took place on the property, but could not say if it happened inside or outside the home. McKay declined to comment on reports that the shooting happened in front of the man's two sons, aged 7 and 3.
A section of Puriri Street was cordoned off and will remain closed tomorrow - re-opening once forensic examinations are complete.
The body of the dead man would be returned to his family tomorrow if possible McKay said.
Armed officers were at the scene for much of today.
A group of up to 20 people were inside the police cordon, many visibly upset. One woman was heard screaming: "Yous arrived too late."
The dead man is believed to be a member of the Mongrel Mob. Police confirmed he was aged 27 and from Whanganui.
Shan Albert, a cousin, told Stuff that the 27-year-old belonged to a close extended family.
"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."
It was also reported that the man protected children and other guests in his home when members of a rival gang showed up about 9.40am.
The offenders remain outstanding, however it was believed those involved were known to each other and were known to police, McKay said.
Police were following "strong lines of enquiry". McKay sai there was "more than one offender".
Earlier a resident told the Chronicle he heard three gunshots and said he saw gang members fleeing from the scene. Another resident said she heard two gunshots.
Nearby schools were placed in lockdown today, including Te Kura O Kokohuia on Matipo St, which runs into Puriri St.
Principal Tuhi Smith posted on social media: "This is to inform you that your kids are safe and warm." Staff at Barsanti Kindergarten in Rogers St said they had no comment to make.