A TENANT who opened fire during a routine rental inspection in New Zealand, killing two women and injuring a third person, is thought to have died after setting the house on fire.
A major police operation was sparked after the shocking shooting in a bushland area about 10 kilometres east of Whangarei on the country's north island, TVNZ reported.
News website Stuff.co.nz said that the man fired at officers who responded to reports of a gun fire just before 11am local time (9am AEST).
After attempts to negotiate with the man failed, they deployed teargas. He set the property on fire.
Authorities told the website it was "very unlikely" he survived the blaze.
"I can confirm that three people have been shot ... tragically, we believe two of those people are deceased," Inspector Dene Begbie said in an update posted to Northland Police's Facebook page.
At a later press conference, Northland District Commander Superintendent Russell Le Prou confirmed the women were deceased, and believed to be related.
"The identity of the shooter is known to police," Superintendent Le Prou said.
Police remain at the scene but have lifted a cordon.
TZNZ said the incident occurred during an inspection of the rented home. The third victim, a male, was rushed to hospital, where he remains in a stable condition.