Three people are believed to have have died and at least six others have been injured after a gunman opened fire in Auckland CBD where the women’s World Cup is set to get started.
Local media reported that a significant police operation was unfolding close to The Cloud – a FIFA fanzone in the CBD – at around 7am local time.
A reporter at the scene said she heard five gunshots while another was told to shelter behind something ‘hard and solid’.
The incident happened around the Queen Street and Quay Street area.
According to local media the gunman, believed to be a 24-year-old man, was killed along with two others yest to be identified.
At least six people were wounded, three seriously, according to St John ambulance.
“Hato Hone St John was notified of an incident on Queen Street, Auckland, at 7.20am,” St John said. “Multiple vehicles have been dispatched. Ambulance crews have treated three patients with serious injuries, and three patients with moderate injuries. More details will be provided as they come to hand.”
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown told TVNZ he understood “the shooter’s actually dead”.
Asked if police had confirmed the death, he said: “They don’t need me bothering them”.
“That’s what I think – that’s what I have heard. No one’s actually sure of that,” he said.
World Cup hosts New Zealand are scheduled to play in the opening match against Norway down the road at Eden Park at 5pm AEST.
Former Silver Fern Maia Jackman told local media she had been hanging out in the fanzone before police swarmed.
”It’s pretty scary actually. So they pushed us to the back of the cloud where we are and we’re just trying to keep sane,’ she said.
“There’s lots of security and lots of uncertainty.”
TACKLE THAT HAD WORLD CUP STARS ‘FEARING FOR THEIR BODIES’
Experienced midfielder Denise O’Sullivan is fit for Ireland’s opening match at the Women’s World Cup against co-hosts Australia after being hurt in the abandoned friendly with Colombia.
O’Sullivan was rushed to hospital last week after a fierce tackle in a closed-doors warm-up match against the South Americans that was called off after 23 minutes with the Irish players “fearing for their bodies”.
There was concern that the 102-cap star had sustained a leg fracture that could jeopardise her tournament.
But coach Vera Pauw said Wednesday that she had made a remarkable recovery and was fit to play in front of an estimated 80,000 fans at Stadium Australia in Sydney on the opening day of the World Cup.
“We are very open, we have nothing to hide. Denise is fit, she will play,” Pauw said, adding that the 29-year-old had resumed full-contact training.
Despite their worries over Colombia’s physicality captain Katie McCabe said they could give as good as they got and were ready for similar treatment from the Sam Kerr-led Australia, one of the World Cup favourites.
“We knew obviously that Colombia were going to be physical but that is going to be the case in every game,” said the long-time Arsenal player.
“We’re Irish, we don’t shy away from physicality, it’s ingrained in us, the hard-working team we are.
“So yes, we are ready for Australia to be physical tomorrow, we’ll be prepared to match it.”
BRAZIL MAKE MAJOR CHANGES TO WORK HOURS
Brazil will change civil servants’ work schedules so they can watch the national team play in the women’s World Cup — a concession until now reserved for the men’s top-flight football tournament.
The employees can start their work days later so as to take in the tournament starting Thursday in Australia and New Zealand.
“It is a measure of equity to give civil servants wishing to watch the matches the same rights as during the men’s World Cup,” the minister for management and innovation, Esther Dweck, said in a statement.
As the tournament gets under way on the other side of the world, Brazil’s team will start their games at either 7:00 am or 8:00 am Brazilian time.
The ministry statement said that on days when the team sees action, civil servants can report for work up to two hours after the end of play.
Brazil’s first match of the tournament is Monday against Panama in Brisbane. The ministry said employees who start work later than usual because of games have to make up those hours later in the year.
Because of the expected absence of so many employees Monday morning, Brazil’s central bank has postponed by one day the release of economic output and inflation figures.
In both the public and private sector, people’s work hours change during the men’s World Cup as the nation comes to a standstill to watch the beloved national men’s team, called the Seleçao in Portuguese, which has won the trophy five times.
But this is the first time the central government has made such a change for its civil servants to watch the women’s World Cup.
Originally published as Women’s World Cup 2023: Schedule, Matildas latest, news, groups and live scores