Tourist Killed in 3am Attack in New Zealand

Attacker shot at van, stole it with injured man inside
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 16, 2019 1:58 AM CDT
Tourist Killed in Random Attack in New Zealand
Police collect and photograph evidence in the parking lot of the Te Toto Gorge lookout on Whaanga Rd, south of Raglan, New Zealand, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019.   (Alan Gibson/New Zealand Herald via AP)

A manhunt was underway in New Zealand on Friday after an Australian tourist was killed following what police believe was a random attack on the van that he and his partner were sleeping inside. Police said the couple was parked at a scenic spot near the coastal town of Raglan when a suspect approached their van just after 3am on Friday. Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley told media the suspect fired a number of shots into the van, injuring the Australian tourist. The woman managed to escape and run away, and she called police. Pitkethley said the suspect then stole the van and drove away with the injured tourist still inside. Police found the van at 8am about 46 miles away in the village of Gordonton with the body of the Australian inside.

It wasn't immediately clear if the man had died from the wounds he received in the initial attack or had been subject to further violence, the AP reports. "This is a tragic incident," Pitkethley said. He said police were supporting the woman, who was "very shocked and distressed." "I want to reassure the public that we are working hard to identify and locate the offender," Pitkethley said. "It is our absolute priority." Police deployed SWAT-style teams to the scene, and all police in the region began carrying guns as a precaution. New Zealand police typically don't carry guns on routine patrols, keeping them stored in their cars instead. Police did not immediately identify the victim although New Zealand media said he was 33-year-old Sean McKinnon and the woman who escaped was his 32-year-old Canadian fiancée.

(More New Zealand stories.)

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