Auckland shooting: Two people and a gunman killed on the eve of the Women’s World Cup | Football news

Police were responding to reports that a man had fired shots into a building in downtown Auckland, two miles from Eden Park, the site of the opening match of the Women’s World Cup between co-hosts New Zealand and Norway; NZ Prime Minister says the tournament will go ahead as planned

8:19 AM, UK, Thursday 20 July 2023

Two people and a gunman have been killed in a “serious incident” in Auckland on the eve of the Women’s World Cup.

Police responded to reports that a man had fired shots into a building in downtown Auckland, two miles from Eden Park, the site of the opening game of the tournament between co-hosts New Zealand and Norway.

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said at least six people had been injured, including a police officer who was able to walk to an ambulance with the assistance of colleagues.

Hipkins met with FIFA president Gianni Infantino after the incident and confirmed the World Cup would go ahead as planned.

FIFA also confirmed that a minute’s silence will be held ahead of the opening match between New Zealand and Norway at Eden Park.

“Obviously with the FIFA World Cup starting tonight, there are a lot of eyes on Auckland,” Hipkins said. “The government has spoken to FIFA organizers this morning and the tournament will go ahead as planned.

“I want to reiterate that there is no major national security threat. This appears to be the act of a single individual.”

Both New Zealand’s and Norway’s teams have confirmed they are safe.

New Zealand Football said it was “shocked by the news of the incident in the Auckland CBD”.

It added: “We can confirm that the entire Football Ferns team and staff are safe, but we will not be able to comment further while details are still emerging.”

Infantino said the New Zealand authorities had been working with FIFA “from the earliest moment of this tragic incident”.

“We have been involved in ongoing communication from the outset and we have also received the necessary assurances from Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson in relation to the safety and security of the participating teams and fans at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand,” he said.

“FIFA sends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives, and our thoughts and prayers remain with those who have been injured in this tragic incident.”

Norway captain Maren Mjelde said people woke up quickly when a helicopter began hovering outside the hotel window.

“We felt safe the whole time,” she said in a statement. “FIFA has a good security system in the hotel and we have our own security officer in the squad. Everyone seems calm and we are preparing as usual for the match [on Thursday].”

The incident comes as many soccer teams gathered in New Zealand for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which begins in Auckland on July 20.

NZ Police: The incident is not considered a national security risk

Police said the situation had been contained to a single building under construction in Lower Queen Street, but urged people to avoid the area or stay inside their buildings if they are already there.

“Police have contained a serious incident that took place at a construction site in Auckland’s CBD this morning,” a New Zealand Police statement read.

“Several injuries have been reported and at this time we can confirm that two people have died. The male perpetrator has also died.

“This incident unfolded following reports of someone discharging a firearm inside the premises on lower Queen Street at around 7.22am.

“A significant number of police responded and cordoned off the area. The Police Eagle helicopter was also deployed and provided surveillance.

An armed New Zealand police officer stands at a roadblock in Auckland’s central business district after the shooting

“The perpetrator moved through the construction site and continued to fire his firearm.

“Once the male reached the upper levels of the building, the male remained inside the elevator shaft and our personnel attempted to make contact with him. Additional shots were fired from the male and he was found deceased a short time later.

“Details of what exactly happened are still emerging and police will continue to provide updates on injuries and the circumstances.”

New Zealand police moved to reassure the public and confirmed the incident did not pose a national security risk.

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in Auckland on July 20

“What has unfolded is understandably alarming and we assure the public that this incident has been contained and is an isolated incident,” the statement continued. “We can also advise that this is not a national security risk.

“Police are now launching an investigation into what happened this morning. Cordon closures remain in place and we continue to ask the public to stay away from the area while our work continues.

“Updates will continue to be provided this morning and police will also issue an update to the media this afternoon.”

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