A shooting at a building in central Auckland, New Zealand’s second city, left three people dead, including the suspected shooter, on Thursday, the opening day of the Women’s World Cup, which will take place as scheduled, New Zealand authorities said.
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said there was no threat to national security and said the World Cup, co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia, would start on Thursday as scheduled.
“New Zealand’s national security threat level is not changed,” said Mr. Hipkins, assuring “that the police have neutralized the threat and that they are not looking for anyone else in connection with” the shooting.
“The government has discussed with the FIFA organizers and the tournament will take place,” he added.
The US national team, which is currently staying in Auckland, said in a statement that all of its players and staff were safe and sound.
The shooting, which occurred Thursday morning at a construction site, also injured six people, including police officers. “The perpetrator moved through the building” shooting “with his firearm,” Acting Police Commissioner Sunny Patel said.
“Upon reaching the upper levels of the building, the man locked himself in the elevator shaft and our staff attempted to engage him,” he added.
Author found dead in elevator
“Further shots were fired by the man and he was found deceased a short time later,” according to Mr Patel.
Police said two deaths have been confirmed at this stage, besides that of the attacker.
Officers responded in “significant” numbers to the shooting and cordoned off the area, added police, who also deployed a helicopter.
Local media showed footage of an injured policeman being helped into an ambulance.
“What happened is obviously alarming and we reassure the public that the situation has been brought under control and this is an isolated incident,” the officer said.
He felt that there was “no risk to national security”. The police asked the public to stay away during the investigations.
Mass shootings are rare in New Zealand and sweeping gun laws were introduced after the 2019 Christchurch mosque massacre in which 51 Muslim worshipers were killed and 40 others injured.