The two people killed in a police incident in a small community in northern B.C. on Thursday afternoon were a woman in her seventies and her son in his late 30s, says the deputy mayor of the town. 

"It's really a shocking thing," said Tom Liversidge, who is also the director for the regional district. "I know everybody is very surprised. Nobody expected that this lady or her son were violent."

RCMP say they were called to a "neighbour dispute involving a handgun" in the Village of Granisle, on Babine Lake, at about 12:30 p.m. PT on Thursday.

Police say they arrived at 1:22 p.m., surrounded the home, and tried to make contact with the residents.

They say one person exited the home and confronted officers, and shots were fired at 2:50 p.m. It's not clear who fired the shots. 

A second person then exited the home and also confronted police, and shots were fired again. 

RCMP say both people died after being attended to by paramedics, who were nearby. 

Liversidge said the mother and son were long-time residents of the community who kept to themselves, adding the son lived in an apartment nearby and was often seen around town running errands with his mother.

"The community is about three blocks by four blocks, it's not very big. So everybody's pretty much a neighbour."

The incident is now being investigated by the IIO, the independent civilian agency responsible for conducting investigations into serious police-related incidents.

The Village of Granisle is a recreational community north of Topley, B.C., on the shores of Babine Lake.