A New Zealand shooter murders two before the Women’s World Cup in soccer.

A New Zealand shooter murders two before the Women's World Cup in soccer.

A New Zealand shooter murders two before the Women’s World Cup in soccer. At least two people, including an armed assailant, were killed, and five others were injured in a shooting in Auckland, the largest metropolis in New Zealand, on Thursday, hours before the Women’s World Cup opening match.

Premier Chris Hipkins stated that the soccer tournament would continue as scheduled, adding that the shooting appeared to be the work of a single individual and that police were not searching for anyone else in connection with the incident.

At least two people, including an armed assailant, were killed, and five others were injured in a shooting in Auckland, the largest metropolis in New Zealand, on Thursday, hours before the Women’s World Cup opening match.

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Premier Chris Hipkins stated that the soccer tournament would continue as scheduled, adding that the shooting appeared to be the work of a single individual and that police were not searching for anyone else in connection with the incident.

“We would have preferred it not to have begun in this manner,” Hipkins told reporters later that day.

“It will be acknowledged that today’s opening ceremony occurred. And I will attend because it is safe to do so and because we continue to urge the entire community to support this,” he said.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster stated at a news conference that although the shooter has not been officially identified, he is believed to be a 24-year-old man who worked at the construction site where the incident occurred.

He was armed with a pump-action shotgun and fired throughout a construction site. Upon reaching the upper floors, he barricaded himself in an elevator shaft and fired additional shots before being discovered deceased shortly after that.

In the incident, one officer and four public members were injured.

The shooter had been sentenced to home detention but was exempted from working at the site.

“The individual is predominantly known for a history of family violence. “There is no evidence to suggest that he posed a greater risk than his past indicates,” Coster stated.

It was known that soccer teams from New Zealand, Norway, Italy, the United States, Vietnam, and Portugal were in the city at the time of the incident.

“FIFA has been informed that this was an isolated incident unrelated to football operations,” FIFA said to Reuters. “Tonight’s opening match at Eden Park will proceed as scheduled.”

“The participating teams close to this incident are receiving support for potential consequences.”Thursday’s initial World Cup matches will feature Norway versus New Zealand in Auckland and Australia versus Ireland in Sydney.

Before the match began in Auckland, a moment of silence was observed, and players donned black armbands to honor the shooting victims.

SECURITY STEPPED UP

Several players posted on social media that they were secure after a shooting near the hotel of the Norwegian national team in downtown Auckland.

During the police operation, Norway’s captain, Maren Mjelde, told the Norwegian publication Verdens Gang, “Everything appears to be in order, and we are preparing as usual for tonight’s match.”

Training for the Italian and American teams was delayed because players needed help to leave their accommodation.

The spouse of Vice President Kamala Harris, who is leading the presidential delegation to New Zealand for the World Cup opening ceremony, is safe, according to the U.S. embassy.

A spokesperson for U.S. Soccer stated that the incident occurred as the U.S. players were waking up for brunch inside the hotel.

“Our security contacted the local authorities and the Department of State almost immediately.” Aaron Heifetz told reporters that after determining that everyone was secure and accounted for, all that was left to do was wait.

U.S. forward Lynn Williams stated that she and her teammates had dealt with similar situations “far too often” in the United States, where gun violence is prevalent.

“There was a clear sentiment of ‘Let’s work together.’ We still have work to do. But also acknowledging that lives were lost is very true and devastating,” said Williams.

Several avenues in Auckland were cordoned off, all ferries into the city were canceled, and buses were instructed to detour around certain city areas.

French 18-year-old tourist Maurane Mifort-Paon said, “At first, I was a little concerned, but when I saw that the police were everywhere, I felt much better.”

The mayor of Auckland, Wayne Brown, stated that the murder had no connection to the World Cup.

New Zealand’s gun laws were tightened after a gunman murdered 51 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch in 2019 in the country’s worst mass shooting in peacetime.

The government has banned all semi-automatic and lethal firearms designed for military use.

Renju Jose in Sydney contributed additional reporting; Praveen Menon wrote the article; Stephen Coates and Kim Coghill edited the piece.

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