It was at a construction site in Auckland and the shooter, who claimed two lives, was killed. The authorities ruled out that it represents a risk for the sporting event that begins this Thursday.
A shooting in the city of Auckland, the most populous in New Zealand, left three dead and six wounded this Thursday, hours before the start of the opening ceremony of the Women’s Soccer World Cup.
It happened at 7:23 a.m. local time at a construction site in the central area of the city, when the attacker entered a building and opened fire, according to police.
Describing the incident, Sunny Patel, acting Auckland District Commander, revealed: “The offender moved around the construction site and continued to fire his firearm. Upon reaching the upper levels of the building, the man hid inside the elevator shaft and our staff attempted to confront him.”
“More shots were fired and the man was found dead a short time later,” he added according to the local press.
The NZHerald collected testimonies from construction site workers, who also gave their version of events.
One of them, who did not want to be named, recounted: “Sometimes we have an alarm for security training…it just goes off, and I thought it was the same situation.”
The man headed for the stairs to exit the building before seeing his distraught manager. “My manager was on the stairs and he yelled ‘down, down, down.’
When he got to level four, another manager suddenly yelled at him to go back up the stairs. “We went down and then another manager said, ‘up, up, up!’ At that time, they did not know what or who they were running from.
Another worker, identified as Sione Fulei, recounted: “There were security and systems that required a pass to enter the building, so the guards were surprised that the gunman could get in. Because for someone who knows how to get in, he probably also works in the site. He probably knew how to get in and where everyone would be in the morning.”
“Everyone was in shock, some of our guys were still in the building and some were already outside,” he concluded.
Separately, New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, in a statement released by local media, said: “It is with deep regret that I can confirm that two people have been killed.”
Police confirmed shortly after that the assailant also died in the attack, bringing the death toll to three.
At least six other individuals were injured, including a police officer, and were taken to Auckland Hospital. Three of them are in serious condition.
As reported by the NZHerald, the abuser was under house arrest for domestic violence and was subject to electronic monitoring via an ankle bracelet tracker.
The 24-year-old gunman had appeared for sentencing in Auckland District Court earlier this year after admitting to charges of impeding breathing, injuring with intent to injure, intentional harm and male assault on women. On March 28, he had been sentenced to 5 months in this type of detention.
The shooting occurred hours before the start of the opening ceremony of the 2023 World Cup in New Zealand and Australia, which will be attended by various personalities and authorities, and the first game of the tournament, when the New Zealand co-hosts will receive Norway.
According to Hipkins, the authorities assessed that it is not a “threat to the security of New Zealand” and that the tournament “will take place as planned”.
The two oceanic nations will host the great World Cup event between Thursday and August 20, in which, for the first time in history, a total of 32 women’s national teams will compete.