30 Apr 2014

Argentinian park a known danger

6:58 pm on 30 April 2014

An Argentinean woman who now lives in Wellington says the park where a New Zealand man was shot dead, is known to be dangerous.

Nicholas Heyward, 31, was walking in General San Martin Park in the city of Mendoza with two other tourists when thieves on a motorcycle tried to grab his bag . They shot him in the neck and chest when he resisted.

Letizia Leuzzi is originally from Mendoza and says the park is in an area of slums and she would not walk in that part of the park, even in the daytime, because it is so dangerous.

She says crime in the park is becoming more common.

Nicholas Heyward.

Nicholas Heyward. Photo: FACEBOOK

Brother pays tribute

Mr Heyward's brother has paid tribute to him as his "idol" and a "truly great person".

In a post on Facebook, Stefan Heyward said the loss of his brother Nick will echo through his heart forever. "I could not have asked for a better brother," he said.

He wrote that they travelled abroad exploring, surfing, and living life, and called his brother his "elder and idol."

Nicholas Heyward had been travelling on a New Zealand passport, but had been living in Queensland and has family in Adelaide and on the Gold Coast, AAP reports.

Police at the scene of the attack in the Argentinian city of Mendoza.

Police at the scene of the attack in the Argentinian city of Mendoza. Photo: LOS ANDES / José Gutiérrez

Police hunt attackers, reward offered

A police spokesperson told Argentinian media there were several witnesses to the attack.

Juan Carlos Caleri, police chief of Mendoza, told the Todo Noticias news channel the victim had gunshot wounds to his neck and chest.

The Ministry of Security has offered 40,000 pesos ($NZ5,800) to help find the offenders.

Adrian Bono from The Bubble, an online English language news site in Buenos Aires, said the government was desperate to find the suspects.

"Argentina is going through a security crisis. Crime has been on the rise, and even though Argentina is still a relatively safe country police are finding it increasingly hard to find the people who are responsible for these kind of crimes" he said.

New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confimed the death and is still seeking details of what happened.