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Auckland, July 20 At least two people were killed on Thursday in a shooting incident in Auckland just hours before the Fifa Women’s World Cup is slated to begin in the New Zealand city.
According to authorities, six other people, including police officers, were injured and the gunman is also dead after the incident occurred at 7.22 a.m. on a construction site in the central business district, reports the BBC.
The police have said that they received information of a person discharging a firearm inside the construction site, and the gunman moved through the building and continued to fire.
The man then went into a lift shaft, following which the police attempted to engage with him.
Further shots were fired by the man and he was found dead a short time later, the BBC quoted the police as saying.
Following the shooting there was a large armed police presence in the central business district.
In a statement, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the attack was not being seen as an act of terrorism and the tournament will go ahead as planned.
The opening match will take place later in the day between New Zealand and Norway in the city’s Eden Park.
The Prime Minister also assured the public that the police had neutralised the threat and there was no ongoing risk.
“No political or ideological motive for the attack had been identified,” Hipkins said, adding that the perpetrator was armed with a pump-action shotgun.
He thanked “the brave men and women of the New Zealand police who ran into the gunfire, straight into harm’s way, in order to save the lives of others”, the BBC reported.
“These kinds of situations move fast and the actions of those who risk their lives to save others are nothing short of heroic,” he added.
Meanwhile, Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown said that all Fifa personnel and football teams are safe and have been accounted for.
“I can’t remember anything like this ever happening in our beautiful city. This morning’s events have been tragic and distressing for all Aucklanders, as this is not something that we are used to,” Brown said on Twitter.
Fifa expressed its “deepest condolences” to the victims’ families and said it was in communication with New Zealand authorities.
“The participating teams in close proximity to this incident are being supported in relation to any impact that may have taken place,” it said.
Sports Minister Grant Robertson said there would be extra police in the area to provide reassurance.
The ninth Women’s World Cup is being co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia.