The brother of a New Zealand tourist shot during a
daylight bag snatch in Argentina has paid tribute to him in a
moving Facebook post.
Nicholas Heyward died yesterday after trying to fight off two
teenagers on a motorbike who tried to steal his backpack. He
was shot four times and died at the scene.
His brother Stefan posted on Facebook: "The loss of you will
echo through my heart forever".
He said he "could not have asked for a better brother".
"Though time may dim the pain my thoughts will always drift
back to remember the truly great person of upmost character
and quality you were."
Mr Heyward, 31, a trained physiotherapist, is understood to
have been on holiday, travelling in Chile, Argentina and
Peru, where he had hoped to go rock-climbing.
He had lived in Australia for a number of years but had been
teaching English while travelling.
The shooting happened just before 4pm local time in a park
near the World Cup stadium, in the city of Mendoza, where Mr
Heyward was staying. He was walking with an Australian woman
and a French man when he was attacked, said Security Ministry
sources in Mendoza.
As he grappled with the thieves for his bag, he fell to the
ground and was shot in the neck and chest as the young
killers fled on their bike, police director Juan Carlos
Caleri told local media.
"They pulled him to the ground, where he was shot four times.
He [died] within minutes of being shot," Mr Caleri said.
Emergency services found the man dead at the scene, he said.
The Security Ministry immediately offered a 40,000 pesos
(NZ$5800) reward for information leading to the arrest of the
Motochorros a growing problem
Motochorros, or motorcycle bandits, are a growing problem in
the country. They are known to travel in pairs - one to
attack a victim, while the other handles the motorcycle.
A fortnight ago in Buenos Aires, governor Daniel Scioli
introduced a new regulation to force all motorcycle
passengers to wear a helmet and reflective jacket showing the
motorbike's number plate.
The move came in a direct bid to crack down on crime.
Mr Heyward and his companions had been staying at the Itaka
Hostel in Mendoza. Receptionist Emelio Montalbini said they
had been staying at the hostel for about three days. The
shooting happened about 2km from the hostel.
The Australian woman and French man were at the hostel last
night and were distraught. It was a "strange" thing to happen
as the area was normally safe, Mr Montalbini said.
The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade advised
on its Safe Travel page that "distraction thefts and violent
crime are an issue in Argentina".
"No resistance should be given if you are the victim of a
robbery, as this could lead to an escalation in violence,"
the site advised.
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade statement said the
ministry was aware of the "sad occurrence".
"The New Zealand Embassy in Buenos Aires is liaising with the
local authorities to obtain details of the incident."
Rally planned to protest murder
The editor of local Mendoza newspaper Los Andes Laura Antun
told Radio New Zealand today a rally is planned following the
shocking murder of a New Zealand tourist in a public park.
Ms Antun said the crime has shocked the city, and the public
park is popular with families.
"The Martin Parque is very safe. It is a family place, it is
a place where everybody runs. It was four in the afternoon,
it's very strange. We are really, really sad and we can't
understand why, because he was not in a very dangerous
"We will go there and ask for justice and more security
because this is a place where you go with your children, with
your bicycle, where tourists go.''
"It's shocking. You don't kill a man for a bag.''
Ms Antun said thieves on motorbikes, known as "montochorros''
are a problem in Argentina; however, they were not known to
"It's a problem because they are kids who rob, but they don't
kill you. We don't know why they would kill the tourist,''
A desert region at the foot of the Andes, Mendoza is about
1050km west of Buenos Aires and is a wine tourism
destination. It has a population of about 120,000.
It has long been one of the safer tourism destinations in
Argentina, according to Lonely Planet, but economic
difficulties had resulted "in an increased number of street
While tourists were not often the targets of such crime, "bag
snatching and pickpocketing ... is on the rise".
In 2012, two New Zealand rugby officials were mugged near
their Buenos Aires hotel shortly after the All Blacks had
beaten Argentina at the inaugural Rugby Championship.
Mike Eagle, then chairman of the NZ Rugby Union, and director
Gerard van Tilborg were set upon by two men who got away with
Mr van Tilborg's Rolex watch. The thieves then fled on