An Australian man has been shot dead in an attempted robbery in New Zealand, with local police launching a major manhunt to find the shooter.
The 33-year-old tourist was killed while sleeping in a campervan in Raglan, outside of Hamilton, just after 3 a.m. on Friday.
“This is a tragic incident. Inquiries indicate that this was a random attack,” Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley told reporters in Hamilton on Friday.
A 32-year-old Canadian woman, who is working in New Zealand, was in the campervan and ran several kilometres to raise the alarm.
Police said the man’s body was found in the stolen campervan, abandoned on Gordonton Road in Hamilton, 80km away from the Raglan crime scene.
They want to hear from any witnesses who saw the campervan after the shooting—and Det Insp Pitkethley expects someone knows who killed the Australian man.
“This is a random attack by, at this stage, what we can attribute to a sole offender, but due to the circumstances of the attack, it is likely that he has confided in members of his community,” he said.
The attacker reportedly demanded the keys to the campervan before shooting the Australian “more than once.”
Det Insp Pitkethley said police are working on the assumption the attacker is still armed.
Forensic police are examining the campervan for evidence.
Raglan is a small town on New Zealand’s west coast, south of Auckland.
An Australian tourist has been shot dead in an attempted robbery in New Zealand. Waikato Police say they were notified at 3:20am (NZ). @nzpolice located a van that was earlier stolen and found a body of a man inside. https://t.co/7UnopjVacl #7NEWS https://t.co/W7ZXNc1ICe
— 7NEWS Australia (@7NewsAustralia) August 16, 2019
Colin Chung from Colin’s Cafe at nearby Whale Bay told AAP the area is a rocky coastline and provided some of the best surf in New Zealand, but it is off the beaten track for tourists.
He heard helicopters in the air about 6.30am but thought it might have been about a boat in trouble.
“It stayed in the air for a long time, maybe 45 minutes,” he said.