Thirty-two-year-old Bianca Buckley of Nova Scotia is devastated after her Australian fiancé, 33-year-old Australian national Sean McKinnon, was shot down in a seemingly random act of violence early Friday morning.
“Insp. Graham Pitkethley says New Zealand Police are providing the woman, identified by Canadian sources as Nova Scotia native Bianca Buckley, with the support she needs after what he called a “tragic incident,” reports CityNews.
New Zealand police said the two were sleeping inside their van at a scenic spot near Raglan when the suspect approached the vehicle and opened fire around 3 a.m.
“We are supporting the female victim, who is understandably very shocked and distressed,” Pitkethley told a news conference.
Pikethley says the unprovoked attack mortally wounded McKinnon, but that Buckley managed to escape apparently unscathed, wherein she alerted police to the shooting.
According to police, the suspect then stole a vehicle and drove roughly 75 kms away where it was later found by police with McKinnon still inside.
“It wasn’t immediately clear if McKinnon died from the wounds he received in the initial attack or if he had been subject to further violence,” reports Global News.
Pitkethley told media that it looks like the suspect acted alone, but it is probable that he had “confided in members of his community.”
“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,” reports CBC.
A nationwide manhunt is now underway to arrest the suspect.