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The gunman who killed two people and injured several others at a construction site in Auckland’s CBD on Thursday morning was under home detention for offences related to domestic violence, police have revealed.
Two people were shot dead when the gunman made his way through the building on Queen Street, firing a pump-action shotgun. At least six others, including one police officer, were injured during the incident.
The assailant contained himself in an elevator shaft when he reached the upper levels of the building.
Police entered the building within minutes of the shots being fired and attempted to engage with the shooter. He fired more shots from his barricaded position within the elevated shaft, and police found him dead a short time later.
The gunman has not been formally identified but is believed to be a 24-year-old man who was employed at the construction site where the shooting occurred, New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said.
Coster said the shooter was suspected to have used a shotgun, which is legal in New Zealand. However, the attacker did not have a firearms licence.
“We know that there have been some indications of mental health history in this case,” Coster said.
Coster revealed the man was on home detention, reportedly for offences related to domestic violence. The detention conditions allowed him to work at the construction site.
“I want to acknowledge this has been a shocking and traumatic event for those people who came to work and found themselves in the middle of an armed emergency,” he said.
“Thankfully, many people were able to escape the building, but I know that for those who hid or remained trapped this was a terrifying experience.”
The incident is not believed to be terrorism-related. New Zealand has been the scene of mass killings in the past, including the 2019 Christchurch mosque shooting, which claimed 51 lives.
A police officer was among those badly injured in Thursday’s shooting. He was taken to hospital in a critical condition and has since stabilised.
The members of the public hurt in the attack suffered injuries ranging from moderate to critical.
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins cancelled his travel plans and addressed the media shortly after the incident was contained, offering his condolences to victims and thanking emergency services.
“My understanding from the advice that we’ve received so far is that there was no identified political or ideological motivation for the shooting, and therefore no national security risk,” Hipkins said.
“There is no change to New Zealand’s national security threat level.”
The FIFA Women’s World Cup match between New Zealand and Norway is scheduled to go ahead as planned in Auckland on Thursday night.
“Clearly with the FIFA World Cup kicking off this evening, there are a lot of eyes on Auckland,” Hipkins said. “Those watching around the world can be assured that the police have neutralised the threat.”
Several teams are staying in hotels in Auckland’s city centre, including at least one around the corner from the building where the shooting occurred.
The CBD was shut down immediately after the attack, but the public can now re-enter. The lower part of Queen Street remains cordoned off.
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This story has been updated to remove details of the gunman’s cause of death as it is unconfirmed.
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