30 Sep 2019

Two dead at Christchurch home

5:13 pm on 30 September 2019

A homicide investigation is under way following the deaths of an elderly man and woman at a Christchurch house this morning.

Front of Wairakei Road home belonging to elderly couple that police say is at the centre of a family harm incident.

Front of Wairakei Road home belonging to elderly couple that police say is at the centre of a family harm incident. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price said police, the Armed Offenders Squad and the negotiation team responded after being alerted to a firearms incident on Wairakei Road, Burnside shortly after 4am today.

The bodies of an elderly man and woman were found at the address and a firearm was also found at the scene.

A homicide investigation has been launched and police are not seeking anyone further in relation to this incident.

Addressing media this afternoon, Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price said police were hoping to confirm the identities of the man, in his 80's, and woman, in her late 70's with a post-mortem tomorrow.

But the police were already working to notify next of kin, with "quite an extensive family across the world."

He said during the phone call at 4.05am, an elderly man had informed a police commicator that he had used a firearm and intended to do self-harm.

He provided the police communicator with a name and address.

"There was no further communication and the phone call ceased, but the line stayed live. A loud noise was heard in the background and police were immediately dispatched," he said.

The man and woman were found on a bed at the house.

During a thorough scene examination today, involving 12 dedicated investigators, the police had recovered four handguns and about 100 bullets.

Mr Price said one of the people who died was thought to be a licenced firearm holder.

He said the address wasn't known to the police or the integrated safety response team, but an occupant had received regular medical attention - including over the past the few days.

The police will be working with medical providers as part of the homicide investigation in coming days.

Mr Price said it was very important that everyone in the community care and look out for each other, especially in times of pressure and stress, and asked people experiencing this to call police.

Police said they were not seeking anyone further, and there was no threat to public safety.

Neighbour Dave Williams said an elderly couple live in the home. He said the first he knew something was happening was when he heard a police officer on a megaphone saying the house was surrounded.

Mr Williams says the shock of what has happened is still sinking in.

"Now that I know what kind of happened, yeah even more of a shock.

"You, sort of, feel sorry for what happened. Not nice, is it."

A scene examination is under way today, and a post mortem will be carried out in the coming days.

The property remains cordoned off and Wairakei Road is open.