New Zealand is in grief after two people were killed in a shooting in Auckland just hours before the start of the Fifa Women’s World Cup.
Six other persons were hurt, including police officers, and the gunman was killed in the event, which occurred at 07:22 (19:22 GMT) on a construction site in the central business area.
PM Chris Hipkins stated that the attack was not a terrorist act.
He confirmed that the competition would go forward as planned.
While no political or ideological motivation for the attack had been found, the prime minister stated that police had neutralized the threat and that the public could be guaranteed that there was no ongoing threat.
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown said the shooting was not in any way related to the Women’s World Cup.
The shooter, 24-year-old Matu Tangi Matua Reid, tore through a construction site with a pump-action shotgun, plunging the busy centre of New Zealand’s largest city into lockdown.
The man was know to police and had a history of family violence and mental health issues. He had been subject to a home detention order but had an exemption to work at the site. He did not have a license to own a firearm.
Mr Hipkins addressed the victim’s families in a televised speech, saying, “The whole nation is mourning with you”.
“The victims went to work this morning as they do every morning, but they won’t be coming home tonight,” he said.
Police will look specifically into how the man got hold of a firearm despite New Zealand’s strict gun control laws.
“I’ve got confidence that they will investigate fully what happened here and they will be able to provide answers to questions we have in time,” he said.
All Fifa personnel and football teams are safe and have been accounted for. Earlier, he had warned people to stay home and avoid travelling into the city, Mr Brown said.
“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,” Mr Brown wrote 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.
The opening match between New Zealand and Norway in the city’s Eden Park got under way at 19:00 local time (07:00 GMT).
Sport 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.
Police said they heard reports 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 and police attempted to engage with him.
Further shots were fired by the man and he was found dead a short time later, police said.
Following the shooting there was a large armed police presence in the central business district not far from the waterfront and the fan park.
Tatjana Haenni, chief sporting director for National Women’s Soccer league USA, is staying close to where the shooting happened.
She told BBC News she had woken up to sounds of police cars arriving and was told to stay inside. “So far we feel safe,” she said.