Skip to main content

New Zealand police collect and photograph evidence in the carpark of the Te Toto Gorge lookout on Whaanga Rd, south of Raglan, New Zealand, on Aug. 16, 2019.

The Canadian Press

Police in New Zealand say they have arrested a suspect in the shooting death of man who was the fiance of a Canadian women.

Police have identified the victim as 33-year-old Sean McKinnon of Australia.

The woman, identified by Canadian sources as Nova Scotia native Bianca Buckley, was in a van with McKinnon when someone fired shots into the vehicle.

Story continues below advertisement

She escaped unharmed.

Police say they arrested a 23-year-old man at a rural home in connection with McKinnon’s death.

“He has been charged with a number of serious offences including Murder, Aggravated Robbery and Threatens to Kill,” Det. Insp. Graham Pitkethley said in a release.

Police said the suspect, who was not named, is to appear in Hamilton District Court.

Pitkethley said McKinnon’s family has been notified of the arrest.

“This is a traumatic time for his family and his partner and the New Zealand Police will do everything we can to provide them with support they need,” he said.

“We know this was an alarming incident that shocked people right across New Zealand and overseas.”

Story continues below advertisement

Police have said that McKinnon and Buckley had been sleeping inside the van at a scenic spot near the coastal town of Raglan when a suspect approached the vehicle just after 3 a.m. Friday.

Pitkethley said the suspect fired a number of shots into the van, injuring the Australian tourist.

The woman managed to escape and call police.

In Nova Scotia, Sacred Heart School of Halifax announced Buckley, a 2005 graduate, had been involved in a “violent incident” in New Zealand in which her fiance was killed.

The school noted in a Facebook post that the Buckley family appreciates the prayers of the school community.

“Bianca thankfully is safe,” the school said in the post. “Our thoughts are with Bianca and her family and of course with the McKinnon family.”

Story continues below advertisement

Buckley’s parents, reached in Halifax, said Friday they had spoken with their daughter after the attack.

“I’m devastated,” her mother said. Her father said they preferred not to comment any further. “It’s an absolutely unbelievable event, and we don’t have any comment,” he said.

A statement from Counties Manukau Health in Auckland, which Buckley listed on her Facebook page as her employer since January, said the organization is providing support to one of its staff members, a midwife, who was involved in the “tragic incident.”

Pitkethley said after the initial shooting, the suspect stole the van and drove away with the injured tourist still inside.

The terrain where the vehicle was stolen is “quite rough,” he said, and police are still trying to determine whether the Canadian woman sustained any injuries in her escape.

Police found the vehicle at 8 a.m. about 75 kilometres away. It wasn’t immediately clear if McKinnon had died from the wounds he received in the initial attack or had been subject to further violence.

Story continues below advertisement

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that McKinnon grew up in the town of Warrnambool, Australia, about 250 kilometres southwest of Melbourne, and that friends remembered him as a talented musician who liked to surf big waves.

Wayne Such told the newspaper that McKinnon was a “genuine, gentle man with a heart of gold.”

With files from Associated Press and Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter