At least two people were killed and several injured when a gunman attacked a building under construction in Auckland, New Zealand, hours before the first match of the Women’s World Cup soccer match was due to start nearby, police said.
A man with a gun also died, police said. in a post on Twitter. It’s unclear at this time if police are counting the shooter in the death toll.
New Zealand police began receiving calls about someone firing a gun inside the construction site around 7:20 a.m. local time, police spokeswoman Anna Thompson said in an email.
Passers-by and commuters heard gunshots during rush hour. Armed police and vehicles swarmed the area, and authorities blocked parts of the city.
The incident happened as the New Zealand and Norwegian teams were scheduled to play at Eden Park Stadium, about three miles from the scene of the shooting. Several World Cup teams and many fans are staying in Auckland’s central business district, and the shooting is said to have occurred very close to the Norwegian team’s hotel.
The US team, which will play its first game against Vietnam here in two days, is also staying in the area.
“Regarding the incident in downtown Oakland, all USWNT players and staff are safe and sound,” US Soccer said in a statement, referring to the US Women’s National Team’s abbreviation. “Our security team is in contact with local authorities and is proceeding with a daily schedule.”
The shooting took place in a busy downtown area of office buildings and hotels across from the ferry terminal on the city’s waterfront.
Police said an armed man broke into a high-rise building below Queen Street and walked around the floors, firing shots.
Within minutes, hundreds of police officers with automatic weapons descended on the scene of the shooting, warning people to evacuate and forcing them to leave the area. A two-block area was blocked and police helicopters hovered above.
“When we arrived at the upper floors of the building, we found the man trapped in an elevator shaft, where staff tried to engage him,” police said. “The man was also shot and found dead shortly after.”
No motive or other details for the shooting were available at this time.
Oakland Mayor Wayne Brown said: Posting to Twitter: “This is a frightening situation for Aucklanders on their Thursday morning commute. Please stay home and avoid trips to the city centre.”