Girlfriend ran for help after NZ murder

 

A massive manhunt is under way in New Zealand after an Australian tourist was shot dead by a gunman as his terrified fiancee ran for her life when they were attacked at a remote camping spot.

The 33-year-old Victorian, Sean McKinnon, from Warrnambool, and his 32-year-old Canadian fiancee were asleep in their campervan at the Te Toto Gorge car park in Raglan, 167km south of Auckland, when they were woken by a stranger at their window.

The man demanded keys to the couple's campervan before Mr McKinnon was shot numerous times.

His fiancee ran for several kilometres for help.

Sean McKinnon has been named as the victim in the New Zealand shooting from today with his partner managing to escape. Picture: Facebook
Sean McKinnon has been named as the victim in the New Zealand shooting from today with his partner managing to escape. Picture: Facebook

A manhunt is under way across the Waikato region, north of Hamilton.

Mr McKinnon's body was later found in the stolen campervan in Gordonton, 72km east of Raglan.

Police are still examining the scene of the shooting. Picture: Alan Gibson.
Police are still examining the scene of the shooting. Picture: Alan Gibson.

Inspector Graham Pitkethley from Waikato Police said police were urging members of the public to help find the shooter.

He said no firearms had been recovered from the van and there was no reason to believe the attack was alcohol or drug-related.

Inspector Graham Pitkethley speaks about the police investigation. Picture: Supplied
Inspector Graham Pitkethley speaks about the police investigation. Picture: Supplied

Forensic investigations are continuing.

"This is a random attack by what we attribute to a sole offender," he said.

"Someone out there in the community knows who this offender is and I am asking them to contact police immediately."

He said police were currently "working through a number of leads".

Sean McKinnon has been named as the victim in the New Zealand shooting. Picture: Facebook
Sean McKinnon has been named as the victim in the New Zealand shooting. Picture: Facebook

MCKINNON REMEMBERED AS A 'LOVABLE, KNOCKABOUT AUSSIE GUY'

Mr McKinnon was in a band in his hometown, which was called 'Troubled Minds'.

"Talented musician, genuine gentle man with a heart of gold," long-time friend Wayne Such told AAP.

Another friend Julian Smith told AAP Mr McKinnon was a "lovable, knockabout Aussie guy" who loved his surfing.

Band Troubled Minds: (top to bottom) Josh Taylor, Lachlan McKinnon and his brother Sean
Band Troubled Minds: (top to bottom) Josh Taylor, Lachlan McKinnon and his brother Sean

"He loved to to surf big waves down the coast. He charged five metre waves," Mr Smith said.

Locals from Port Campbell, on the Great Ocean Road, said they were struggling to come to terms with his death as news broke across the tight-knit community.

The 33-year-old was often spotted surfing at the popular tourist spot and at nearby beaches.

"It's such a shame his life has been cut short like this," one woman said.

Corangamite shire councillor Simon Illingworth told regional paper The Standard that the Port Campbell community was shocked and saddened by the musician's death.

"Seanny Mac was always a legend. He would do somersaults off the Port Campbell pier with the kids. He always had time for everyone," he said.

"He was just a lovely bloke, liked to joke around and the kids that knew him will be absolutely devastated," he said.

FIANCEE "VERY SHOCKED AND DISTRESSED"

Dt Insp Pitkethley said they were supporting Mr McKinnon's partner.

"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.

"This is a tragic incident. Inquiries are telling us that this was a random attack.

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

"It is our absolute priority."

Mr McKinnon and his fiancee got engaged on Christmas Day in 2017.

His fiancee - known on social media as "Bee Cj" has been working as a midwife at Counties Manukau Health since January after studying at the University of Queensland and McGill University.

Social media posts suggest the couple had travelled to New Zealand for an adventure holiday.

A video shows posted on his fiancé's Facebook page in mid-July shows her surfing with friends in Piha, a seaside village west of Auckland.

Other pictures show her hiking with friends at Te Henga Walkway, about 180km north from where the shooting took place.

A post published on her Facebook on July 15 reads: "We must travel in the direction of our fear."

Sean McKinnon has been named as the victim in the New Zealand shooting from today with his fiancee managing to escape. Picture: Facebook
Sean McKinnon has been named as the victim in the New Zealand shooting from today with his fiancee managing to escape. Picture: Facebook

POLICE TO BE ARMED WHILE MANHUNT CONTINUES

Det Insp Pitkethley confirmed armed police were involved in the manhunt.

"In light of the current circumstances, a general arming order for police staff is in place this afternoon for the entire Waikato District and will be reassessed later today," he said.

"We ask that the public stays alert and reports any suspicious activity to police immediately."

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

But Inspector Pitkethley said this was an "unrelated pre-planned operation".

The scene at Whaanga Road, Raglan. Picture: Google Maps
The scene at Whaanga Road, Raglan. Picture: Google Maps

Waikato Police revealed on Facebook that they responded to a serious incident in Raglan at 3.20am.

"Police have located a van that was earlier stolen and found a body of a man inside," the statement reads.

"The vehicle was found on Gordonton Rd."

Police want to hear from anyone who may have seen the vehicle or have any information to assist them.

"Police believe the vehicle, a White 2017 Toyota Hiace ZL registration KWF362, travelled from Whaanga Road to Gordonton Road this morning," they said.

"If you think you have seen this vehicle or have information that may be helpful please contact Hamilton Police on 07 858 6200.

A file photo of a white 2017 Toyota Hiace ZL.
A file photo of a white 2017 Toyota Hiace ZL.

"Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

"Police are conducting inquiries to establish the circumstances.

"We are also currently working to inform the next of kin therefore no further details are available at this point."

Police are investigating the scene of the shooting. Picture: Alan Gibson.
Police are investigating the scene of the shooting. Picture: Alan Gibson.


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