A fugitive French police officer accused of killing his wife and two young children in their sleep has committed suicide after being tracked down by police.

Thierry Gourjault, 46, fired two bullets into his own stomach as he was surrounded by officers who found him in the woods in southwestern France.

Police with dog handlers and a helicopter launched a manhunt after Gourjault's wife, their four-year-old son and his 10-year-old daughter from a previous marriage were found dead on Tuesday.

Gourjault is thought to have shot his family with his service weapon at their home in the mountain village of Cabanac in the French Pyrenees on Monday night.

He left a note behind saying he planned to take his own life.

As detectives searched the family home for clues, officers began a search to find Gourjault.

He was located in woods around 12 miles from the village, using the tracking signal from his mobile phone.

When officers approached him, Gourjault fired several bullets in their direction, before turning his weapon on himself, police said.

He died as police were attempting to airlift him to hospital.

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