A gunman opened fire at a construction site in Auckland, New Zealand, killing at least two people. The shooter himself was also dead, the police reported on Thursday morning New Zealand time. Other people were injured. The incident took place in the city’s commercial heart, not far from the fan base of the Women’s World Cup – just hours before the opening game, which is being played in Auckland.
The shooter first moved through the building under construction and fired more shots. Eventually, he retreated into an elevator shaft, Police Inspector Sunny Patel said. Local officials tried to communicate with the man. But he fired more shots and was found dead a short time later.
During the operation, several roads in Auckland were closed, all ferry services into the city were canceled and buses were diverted.
“Events are understandably alarming and we reassure the public that this incident is under control and is an isolated incident,” Patel said, according to the statement. Further details about the exact course of events are not yet known.
The Women’s World Cup kicks off this Thursday in Auckland. “The tournament will go ahead as planned. There is no risk to national security,” New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said in a press conference. Hosts New Zealand will play against Norway in the opening tournament (9 a.m. CEST/ARD). The World Cup will be held in Australia and New Zealand and will last until August 20th.
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown described the incident as “very scary”. He also told TVNZ: “This horrific incident could not have happened at a worse time, right now with the world’s eyes on us.”
The shots were fired near the official World Cup fan zone, and the World Cup teams housed in the area are all safe. New Zealand Sports Minister Grant Robertson said he spoke to world governing body boss Gianni Infantino and FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, who expressed their condolences. The New Zealand association was “shocked” by the incident via Twitter. “We can confirm that the entire Football Ferns team and staff are safe.” The US national team, which is also currently in Auckland, said all players and staff are safe and well.
The Eden Park stadium, where the opening match will be played, is located noisy The Athletic a 20-minute train ride from the scene of the shooting.
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