At least two people were killed and several others injured after a gunman stormed a building under construction in the New Zealand city of Auckland early Thursday, the police said, hours before the first soccer match of the Women’s World Cup was scheduled to begin nearby.
A male gunman was also killed, the police said in a post on Twitter.
A volley of gunshots was first heard by passers-by about 8:10 a.m. local time as commuters traveled during the rush hour. Armed police officers and vehicles swarmed the area, and the authorities shut down part of the city, in what the police described as a “significant incident.”
The episode occurred as teams from New Zealand and Norway were set to play at Eden Park Stadium, about three miles from the site of the shooting. Several World Cup teams and many fans are staying in Auckland’s central business district, and the shooting was said to have occurred very close to Team Norway’s hotel.
The United States team, which will play its first game here against Vietnam in two days, is also staying in the area.
“Regarding the incident in downtown Auckland, all of our USWNT players and staff are accounted for and safe,” U.S. Soccer said in a statement, referring to the acronym for United States Women’s National Team. “Our security team is in communication with local authorities and we are proceeding with our daily schedule.”
A motive for the shooting and other details were not immediately available. The police said an armed man had entered a high-rise building on lower Queen Street and went floor by floor while shooting.
“Upon reaching the upper levels of the building, the male has contained himself within the elevator shaft and our staff have attempted to engage with him,” the police said. “Further shots were fired from the male and he was located deceased a short time later.”
The mayor of Auckland, Wayne Brown, said in a post on Twitter: “This is a scary situation for Aucklanders on their Thursday morning commute to work. Please stay at home, avoid travel into the city centre.”
Later, the New Zealand Police said in a post on Twitter that the incident had been “contained to a building in lower Queen Street, which is under construction.”
Andrew Das contributed reporting.