Southland girls caught up in shooting drama

03:32, Sep 01 2014

Two Southland school hockey teams are in lockdown in Ashburton.

The James Hargest College and St Peters College Gore girls' hockey teams have been caught up in a shooting that killed two and injured a third at an Ashburton Work and Income office this morning.

The two Southland teams are at the National Secondary School Girls' Jenny McDonald Cup competition  in Ashburton.

The players and coaches from the two teams were locked in the confines of Ashburton College as armed police scoured the town for the gunman, who fled on a pushbike.

St Peters College Gore coach Hayley Chalmers said just before the team's match against Ashburton College they were evacuated from the turf and escorted across the field to Ashburton College.

''We are in lockdown at the high school along with the James Hargest team,'' Chalmers said.


''The doors are closed and there are people on the gates and all the gates are shut. Everyone is safe.''

Chalmers said it was not clear how long the girls would have to stay in lockdown.

''We are comfortable enough and they are looking after us very well.''

It was a bit scary knowing there is a gunman on the loose, she said.

The girls have been in contact with their families back home, she said.

James Hargest College coach Paul Redmond said he could not comment on the situation but confirmed the tournament was called off after his side's first game.

Police have named John Henry Tully as a person of interest after the shooting.

A balaclava-clad man carrying a sawn-off shotgun entered the Work and Income office on the corner of Cass and Moore streets and fired several shots before fleeing on a bike.

The gunman was last seen heading towards the Ashburton river. Shots have reportedly been heard since coming from the river.

Ashburton remains in lockdown while police hunt for the gunman.

The Southland Times