WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – New Zealand police arrested a 23-year-old man and charged him with murder yesterday, bringing relief to a community that was on edge after an Australian tourist was killed in a seemingly random attack on his van that sparked a large manhunt.
The suspect made his first court appearance yesterday to face the charges of murder, aggravated robbery and threatening to kill. Police arrested him late on Friday after heavily armed officers searched for him all day.
Police identified the man who was killed as 33-year-old Sean McKinnon. Several family members travelled from Australia for the court hearing. Sister Emmeline McKinnon told reporters outside the court that the family didn’t know how it was going to put its lives back together.
“We’re really sorry that he’s gone. He loved being over here, he loved the surf here,” McKinnon said.
“He loved the lifestyle and the place. We’re glad he wasn’t too far from home. We’re just going to miss him a lot.”
Emmeline McKinnon said the family was supporting their brother’s fiancé. “I cannot even begin to understand what she’s gone through as a person. She’s a really strong young woman,” she said.