Tragically, a shooting in Auckland, New Zealand has left two dead just hours before the city was due to open the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Thursday 20 July 2023. The attack, which occurred this morning in a construction site in Auckland’s busy central business district, has sent the city into lockdown.
The perpetrator, 24-year-old Matu Tangi Matua Reid, attacked the construction site with a shotgun, and left six other people injured, including police officers who were responding to the incident. Reid himself is believed to have died at the scene following the shooting.
The attack comes as a shock as spirits were high in the country amid the beginning of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is being co-hosted with neighbour, Australia. How Reid managed to obtain a firearm despite the country’s strict anti-gun laws is baffling police.
The attacker was unfortunately known to the authorities, having had a history of family violence and poor mental health, and was said to have been under a home detention order. However, it’s been reported that he had been given an exemption from this to work at the construction site.
Tatjana Haenni, chief sporting director for the USA National Women’s Soccer league, was staying in an accommodation close to the where the shooting occurred, and told BBC News that the sounds of police cars arriving at the scene woke her up, and that she was told to stay inside.
Thankfully, all FIFA personnel and players have been accounted for, with the football association putting out a statement of condolences to the families affected by the incident. The attack did not raise security concerns surrounding the global event and is not being treated as an act of terrorism, despite its adjacency to the Women’s World Cup, PM Chris Hopkins said in an address to the nation.
A large armed police presence has reportedly amassed at the scene, with extra officers patrolling the grounds around Auckland’s stadium to reassure the safety of visitors to the games. The attack did not affect the timetabled games of the competition, which has since managed to successfully kick off.
Though this has been an unpleasant cloud over the beginning of what should be a celebration of the growing equality in sports, we hope that the rest of the tournament proceeds smoothly.