3 dead, 6 injured in deadly shooting in Auckland, no national security risk
Datetime: 2023-07-21 09:38:19
WELLINGTON - Three people, including the gunman, were dead and six others were injured in a "serious" gun incident in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Thursday.
The injured, who have been taken to the Auckland Hospital, included a member of the police, Hipkins said.
The assessment from officials is that there is no national security risk and there is no change to New Zealand's security threat level, Hipkins told the media, ruling out a terrorist attack.
The offender was armed with a pump-action shot gun. He moved through a building site and discharged his firearm, Hipkins said.
"Upon reaching the upper levels of the building, the man contained himself in an elevator and the police engaged with him, shots were fired and he was located a short time later," said the prime minister.
The police said they have not formally identified the offender, however, the man is believed to be a 24-year-old who has worked at the construction site and the reason for his presence at the site on Thursday morning was connected with that work.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster told media the gunman was on home detention with a history of family violence, adding it remained unknown if the gunman was killed by police or took his own life as the investigation proceeds.
ENTIRE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
According to a police statement, what has unfolded is understandably alarming and the police are reassuring the public that this incident has been contained and is an isolated incident.
At 7:22 early Thursday, the police received multiple emergency calls with reports of a person discharging a firearm from inside the third floor of a building under construction at the bottom of Queen Street in Auckland's central city, said the statement.
Then the offender made his way up through the building site, discharging his firearm on multiple occasions. Police entered the building within 10 minutes.
Members of the public inside the building were evacuated where possible. Several workers inside the building found refuge hiding within the building, the police said.
At 8 a.m., the Armed Offenders Squad, alongside the Special Tactics Group, located the offender inside a lift shaft where he had barricaded himself and the police attempted to engage with him after securing the floors above and below. The offender then fired at the police, injuring an officer.
Shots were exchanged, and the offender was later located deceased, said the police who also located two members of the public deceased on the lower levels of the building site.
Coster said the injured police officer was transported to the hospital in critical condition, but now has stabilized.
"This was an incredibly alarming incident for workers who were beginning their day," Coster said, adding they have contained the situation and are not seeking anyone else.
Eight gunshots were heard, according to witnesses.
Connecting streets have been cordoned off, and the public was asked to stay indoors and away from the area as the police work continues.
NO ONGOING RISK TO PUBLIC, FIFA
The police said they are communicating with New Zealand's local and central government and FIFA tournament organizers.
Thursday marked the beginning of the month-long FIFA Women's World Cup 2023, which is being co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia. New Zealand women's national football team will face Norway at the opening match at Auckland's Eden Park later on Thursday.
Police have been part of the FIFA Women's World Cup operational planning group, and as such were well placed to manage impacts on the event, Coster said.
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown said all FIFA personnel and international football teams were safe.