An Australian tourist was shot dead while sleeping in a camper van parked in a coastal New Zealand town in the early hours of Friday, the Guardian reports.
Police said a male offender smashed the windows of the vehicle and fired several shots, injuring the man who local media identified as 33-year-old Sean McKinnon. The shooter drove the van away with him in it, while his fiancé, who was also in the vehicle, managed to flee in time and phone the police.
The incident took place in Raglan, a town south of Auckland that is popular among surfers. Police received reports of the shooting at around 3:20 a.m. A manhunt is now under way in Waikato region and a homicide investigation has been launched.
New Zealand police said they received calls from the public with information in relation to the investigation, and continued to appeal in the afternoon for anyone who had sighted the white Toyota van in question, or had any relevant knowledge, to come forward.
McKinnon was described by a friend as a “lovable, knockabout Aussie guy” who loved surfing. Police confirmed that the attacker was not known to McKinnon or his fiancé.
Such crimes are rare in New Zealand, which is a popular destination particularly for Australian tourists. Last year, however, a 22-year-old British woman was killed while backpacking there, according to Reuters.