District 'absolutely devastated' - Ashburton Mayor
Earlier this evening in Ashburton, police apprehended suspected gunman John Tully after allegedly shooting two people dead and seriously injuring another at a WINZ office on Moore St at 10am this morning.
Ministry of Social Development chief executive Brendan Boyle joined John this evening after speaking to the staff in the WINZ office.
"Not surprisingly, they are really traumatised by this awful situation," says Mr Boyle. "Not [one] of them got up this morning and expected a thing like that, they are very upset."
"Now our main focus is first of all on the supporting the families of those who have died today, the injured staff member we have in hospital and the rest of the staff at the site."
Out of seven WINZ employees working at the Moore St office, three of the workers were shot, and as Mr Boyle explains most of the employees witnessed the shootings.
"It is the most traumatic experience one could imagine, and we have to remember that these are the people who are focused on serving people in their community," says Mr Boyle. "They are coming into work every day - they do a difficult job and they do it incredibly well."
Ashburton Mayor Angus McKay is absolutely devastated by the shootings, "the whole district, I'm sure, will be just like myself… Our hearts go out to the people who have been deeply affected."
Mr McKay had dealt with Mr Tully beforehand on two occasions.
"He came to my office seeking help and we were able to talk that through and secondly I just caught up with him in our reception, and I think we chatted about the weather."Watch the full report from John Campbell