Thursday, 19 September, 2019

Raglan shooting: Tourist dead, terrified partner ran kilometres for help

The van was stolen near Te Toto gorge and found about 80 kilometres away The van was stolen near Te Toto gorge and found about 80 kilometres away
Patty Aguilar | 16 August, 2019, 16:52

The frightened fiancée of an Australian man killed in what appears to be a random attack on the north island of New Zealand had to run several kilometres in the dark to raise the alarm.

At 3.20am, Police were notified of an incident earlier in the morning on Whaanga Road, Raglan where a male offender has approached a van that was parked in the Te Toto Gorge track carpark.

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 fiancee.

"It is understandable and concerning to have an armed offender outstanding but I want to reassure the public we are working hard to identify and locate the offender".

The Canadian woman, 32, who is now living and working in New Zealand, managed to flee and ran for several kilometres to seek help after the attack.

A large-scale manhunt is underway as police desperately try to track down the gunman, who is believed to still be armed.

Police found the van at 8 a.m. about 75 kilometers away in the village of Gordonton, with the body of the Australian inside.

As for the victim's identity, police said they would not be naming him until a formal identification has been carried out and his next of kin have been notified.

"We are supporting the female victim, who is understandably very shocked and distressed, providing her with the support and welfare that she needs", he said.

"She ran to get help and managed to alert police".

When they refused, McKinnon was shot dead.

The Australian man was shot multiple times during the attack.

Police found the the man's body inside the van, believed to have been stolen, around 8am.

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Corangamite Shire Mayor Neil Trotter said community members were stunned by Mr McKinnon's death.

Hamilton police were earlier spotted firing multiple shots at a green hatchback in the auto park at the Gallagher Hockey Turf, a 20 minute drive from where the campervan was found.

"This is a tragic incident", Mr Pitkethley said.

The offender shot five shots at the vehicle, the man was injured, but the woman did escape the scene.

Anyone who saw the campervan is urged to contact the Hamilton Police on 07 858 6200 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Stacey Davis from Apollo Motorhome Holidays, through which the van was said to have been rented, said the company was aware of the incident.

A spokeswoman for St John said they were called to the incident at 8.11am and sent an ambulance and rapid response vehicle.

He said residents in the Te Toto Gorge area were being told to stay in their homes.

A farmer about 10 minutes away from the Te Toto Gorge lookout said the area was a popular tourist spot.

He said there was no camping allowed, but tourists tended to regularly do so at the site regardless.

A spokesman for Fire and Emergency New Zealand said they were called to assist police at the scene on Whaanga Rd, Raglan.

Police have confirmed a homicide inquiry is under way.

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