Three killed in New Zealand shooting ahead of Women's World Cup opening match

19 July 2023, 23:29 | Updated: 20 July 2023, 05:17

An increased police presence will be seen around Auckland
An increased police presence will be seen around Auckland. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Three people are dead after a "serious" shooting in New Zealand ahead of the opening match of the Women's World Cup.

Police described it as a "significant incident" but said the situation had been contained to a single building that was under construction in lower Queen Street.

Following on from the attack, the gunman also died, New Zealand Police said.

The incident comes as many football teams were gathering in New Zealand for the Fifa Women's World Cup.

The opening match is scheduled for Thursday between New Zealand and Norway, with police presence now stepped up for the event.

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A road near the site of a gun incident is cordoned off in Auckland, New Zealand
A road near the site of a gun incident is cordoned off in Auckland, New Zealand. Picture: Alamy

Speaking on Thursday morning, New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said: "Clearly with the FIFA World Cup kicking off this evening there are a lot of eyes on Auckland.

"The government has spoken to FIFA organisers this morning and the tournament will proceed as planned.

"Aucklanders and those watching around the world can be assured that the police have neutralised the threat and they are not seeking anybody else in relation to the incident.

"New Zealanders' safety and the safety of our visitors is our first priority.

"There will be an increased police presence obviously around Auckland to provide public reassurance, but the police have indicated that they don't think there is an ongoing security or safety risk."

Armed police and rescue workers react in the central business district following a shooting in Auckland
Armed police and rescue workers react in the central business district following a shooting in Auckland. Picture: Alamy

In the wake of the incident, New Zealand Football tweeted: "New Zealand Football are shocked by the incident in Auckland CBD this morning.

"We can confirm that all of the Football Ferns team and staff are safe but we will not be able to comment further while details are still emerging.

"Please refer to New Zealand Police for further information. Preparations for the game tonight at Eden Park will continue as planned."

The US Women's Team also confirmed the safety of its players and staff.

The US Soccer Comms Account tweeted: "Regarding the incident in downtown Auckland, all of our USWNT players and staff are accounted for and safe.

"Our security team is in communication with local authorities and we are proceeding with our daily schedule."

New Zealand Police earlier said on Twitter: "Police have contained a serious incident that unfolded at a construction site in Auckland's CBD this morning.

"Multiple injuries have been reported and at this stage we can confirm two people have died. The male offender is also deceased. Police are now commencing an investigation into what has occurred this morning.

"Cordons remain in place and we are continuing to ask the public to stay away from the area as our work continues."

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