Christchurch fatal shooting: Man, 32, charged with murdering teen Connor Whitehead kept in custody

A 32-year-old man accused of shooting dead a teenager outside a Christchurch party at the weekend has been kept in custody, while police remain on the hunt for another suspect allegedly connected to the killing.

Connor Whitehead, 16, died from gunshot wounds after attending a 15th birthday party and fireworks in the northern suburb of Casebrook on Friday night.

Last night, police charged the 32-year-old who was arrested after an armed police raid on a Burnside house on Sunday with Whitehead’s murder.

This morning his case was called at Christchurch District Court – but he was not in court in person, with Judge John Brandts-Giesen told that he remains in hospital. It’s understood he was injured during his arrest, and his court appearance today was excused.

Duty lawyer David Goldwater made no application for bail but asked for interim name suppression, given that the police investigation is in its early stages. Police prosecutor Stephen Burdes supported the bid, which was granted by Judge Brandts-Giesen.

The man was remanded in custody without plea to the High Court in Christchurch on November 26.

Three people have been charged with being accessories after the fact to Whitehead’s murder – a 46-year-old man and two women, aged 36 and 43 – and appeared at Christchurch District Court yesterday.

They all had applications for bail declined by Judge Tony Couch and were remanded in custody without plea to appear in the High Court in Christchurch on November 26.

A fifth person is still on the run.

“This person is aware he is being sought and we urge him to hand himself into police,” a police spokeswoman said.

Whitehead, a “kind, talented and deeply loyal” 16-year-old, had checked with his father that it would be okay for him to attend the party on Friday night.

After getting the green light, the Burnside High student was enjoying himself with friends.

It’s understood that he was shot outside the party house.

His shocked friends tried to perform emergency first aid to Whitehead who lay bleeding on the front lawn while 111 was being called.

The first call to emergency services came at 11.03pm, with reports of a “firearms incident”.

Armed police officers who were first on the scene also tried to save the boy’s life and do CPR.

St John arrived around 10 minutes later but Whitehead was pronounced dead at the scene.

A massive police investigation – called Operation Stack – was launched, along with a hunt for the killers.

Several properties in Christchurch – and on the outskirts of the city – were raided and four people have now been arrested and appeared before the courts.

Reeves said that the police inquiries are ongoing and anyone with information that may assist should contact Police on 105 and quote event number P048523046.


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