Police respond to gunman in Auckland, site of World Cup opener

Three people have been confirmed dead by the New Zealand police after it responded Thursday to reports of shots being fired in a building in downtown Auckland, the city where the first game of the Women’s World Cup will be played later in the day.

“Police have contained a serious incident that unfolded at a construction site in Auckland’s CBD this morning,” New Zealand police tweeted. “Multiple injuries have been reported and at this stage we can confirm two people have died. The male offender is also deceased.”

Police said the situation had been contained to a single building that was under construction in lower Queen Street, close to a World Cup fan zone that had not opened for the day. Police were urging people to avoid the area or stay inside their buildings if already there.

The incident comes as many soccer teams were gathering in New Zealand for the World Cup. New Zealand, which is co-hosting the tournament with Australia, plays Norway on Thursday night in Auckland.

New Zealand Football issued a statement saying it was shocked by the incident in Auckland CBD this morning, but could confirm that all of the Football Ferns team and staff were safe. It added: “Preparations for the game tonight at Eden Park will continue as planned.”

Norway captain Maren Mjeldeb said: “Everyone probably woke up quite quickly when the helicopter hovered outside the hotel window and a large number of emergency vehicles arrived. At first we didn’t know what was going on, but eventually there were updates on TV and the local media.

“We felt safe the whole time. FIFA has a good security system at the hotel, and we have our own security officer in the squad. Everyone seems calm and we are preparing as normal for the game tonight. Then we may have to adapt if there are any instructions from the authorities.”

The United States begins group play on Friday against Vietnam in Auckland. A USWNT press officer said on Thursday: “All of our players and staff are accounted for and safe. Our security team is in communication with local authorities and we are proceeding with our daily schedule.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.