New Zealand Gunman Claims 2 Lives Before Women's World Cup Soccer
A tragic incident unfolded in downtown Auckland, New Zealand, in the early hours of Thursday morning as a lone New Zealand gunman claims 2 lives before Women's World Cup Soccer. The gunman stormed a high-rise construction site, leaving two people dead and four others injured. The terrifying attack took place just as the country was gearing up to host games in the FIFA Women's World Cup tournament, sending shockwaves through the city.
Gunman Opens Fire At New Zealand Construction Site Ahead Of Women's World Cup Soccer - Two Killed, Shooter Found Dead
The assailant, identified as a 24-year-old with a history of family violence, had previously worked at the building site. His motive for the shooting appeared to be connected to his employment there. Despite serving a sentence of home detention, he had an exemption to work at the lower Queen Street site, raising questions about the security measures in place.
The shooting began around 7:20 a.m., with the gunman firing at terrified workers as police promptly swarmed the area. Many workers managed to flee or hide, but the situation turned into a tense standoff when the shooter barricaded himself in an elevator shaft on the third floor. SWAT-type officers were called in and engaged the assailant after securing the floors above and below.
During the confrontation, the shooter opened fire on the officers, injuring one of them. The police responded with gunfire, and the gunman was later found deceased. Police Commissioner Andrew Coster stated that it was unclear whether the shooter was killed by the officers or if he took his own life. Disturbingly, it was revealed that the gunman did not possess a gun license and should not have had access to a firearm in the first place.
A gunman in New Zealand kills 2 people ahead of Women's World Cup tournament
As the newsof the shooting spread, concerns arose about the safety of teams and fans gathering in New Zealand for the FIFA Women's World Cup. The opening match between New Zealand and Norway was scheduled for the same day as the attack. However, New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins assured the public that the tournament would proceed as planned, asserting that there was no wider national security threat and that the incident appeared to be the action of a single individual.
Clearly with the FIFA World Cup kicking off this evening, there are a lot of eyes on Auckland. The government has spoken to FIFA organizers this morning, and the tournament will proceed as planned.- New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins
The incident brought back memories of New Zealand's darkest day, when a gunman killed 51 people in two mosques in Christchurch in a mass shooting that prompted the government to take action. In 2019, New Zealand banned assault weapons, and a subsequent buyback scheme saw gun owners surrendering more than 50,000 AR-15-style rifles and other assault weapons to the police.
As the nation mourned the victims of this latest tragedy, teams, and players participating in the Women's World Cup reassured the public that they were safe and under the protection of robust security measures. Team Norway captain Maren Mjelde conveyed her team's sense of security, expressing confidence in FIFA's security system at their hotel and the presence of their own security officer.
We felt safe the whole time. Everyone seems calm, and we are preparing as normal for the game tonight.- Team Norway Captain Maren Mjelde
Team USA also confirmed that all players and staff were accounted for and safe. The team remained in close communication with local authorities and continued with their regular schedule.
As investigations into the motive and circumstances of the shooting continue, the nation mourns the loss of lives and grapples with the questions surrounding gun control and workplace security. In the wake of this tragedy, New Zealanders stand united, demonstrating resilience and determination to carry on with the Women's World Cup, showcasing the strength of their nation in the face of adversity.