THE children of a couple killed in a Wangaratta murder suicide are staying with family members with support from police after the shocking tragedy.
The husband and wife were found dead inside a Belle Avenue home about 5.10pm on Tuesday, more than four hours after shots were fired.
Special operations officers had been flown into the area amid concerns the man had been inside the house with his wife, armed with a high-powered rifle with a scope.
Residents were told not to leave their homes as police cordoned off nearby streets, took sheltered positions, and tried to make contact with the man.
After several hours without contact, police entered the home and found the couple dead inside. The couple and their children had lived next door to the home where the shooting occurred.
Witnesses had seen the man armed with the rifle running after his wife into their next door neighbour’s property.
It’s believed they had four primary school-aged children, but police said two adults and six children ran from the home after the gun was fired.
They fled to a nearby property and police were called.
Nearby resident Bruno Meneguzzi was one of those told to stay inside his home.
“You wouldn’t believe it,” he said.
“You see them every day.
“Every day, she was coming (past) with the pram.
“She was a lovely lady.
“They were very nice people.”
Mr Meneguzzi said the couple had been living at the home for some time and he had never seen them arguing.
Homicide Squad detectives attended but were not searching for anyone else.
Superintendent Paul O’Halloran said a report would be prepared for the coroner.
“It’s a tragic incident,” he said.
Before the couple were found dead, Superintendent O’Halloran said there had been “grave fears” for the woman.
Those who spoke to The Border Mail said they assumed the noise of gunshots was just children playing with crackers on Anzac Day until they saw police cars rush to the area.
They blocked off an area next to the Appin Park athletics track, frequently used by young children, with dozens of officers on scene.
One mother and her son quickly turned around when they were told of the man on the loose with a rifle. Specialist negotiators had been brought in with hopes the matter would be resolved peacefully.
For help or information call Lifeline on 131 114 or SuicideLine on 1300 651 251.
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