A shooting in Auckland, New Zealand, claimed at least three lives, including the gunman, and caused multiple injuries only hours before the 2023 Women’s World Cup was set to kick off in the city.

New Zealand Police said that the “serious incident” unfolded at a construction site in Auckland’s central business district at around 7:22 a.m. local time Thursday morning. Two victims and the unnamed gunman were confirmed dead, while at least five others including a police officer were injured by the shooter’s pump-action shotgun.

“The Police officer was transported to hospital in a critical condition, but we can advise his condition has stabilised,” New Zealand Police spokesperson Anna Thompson said in a statement obtained by Newsweek. “The four members of the public have injuries ranging from moderate to critical.”

“The building site has now been secured and a scene examination is now underway,” Thompson continued. “There are upwards of 40 witnesses who were at or around the scene and they are in the process of being spoken to as part of this investigation.”

New Zealand Shooting: Gunman Kills 2
Police on Thursday cordon off the site of a deadly shooting in Auckland, New Zealand. Three people were killed, including the gunman, and several others were injured, just hours before the 2023 Women’s World Cup was set to begin.
Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty

The incident occurred hours before the New Zealand women’s national team was scheduled to take on Norway in the opening game of the World Cup at Eden Park Stadium, just miles from the site of the shooting.

Officials said that the game and the World Cup, which is being co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia, would be moving forward.

There was no indication that the shooting was in any way tied to the World Cup, while police said that it did not present “a national security risk.” New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said during a press briefing that no “ideological or political motivation” had been identified.

Hipkins stressed that the actual motive of the gunman was still unknown pending the results of the police investigation. He said that the shooter appeared to have acted alone.

Mass shootings are relatively rare in New Zealand, with gun laws in the country having been tightened after a gunman massacred 50 people at Christchurch mosques in 2019.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown said in a statement that he could not “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,” said Brown.

Multiple teams competing in the World Cup were staying close to the scene of the crime, including the U.S. Women’s National Team, the defending World Cup champions. U.S. Soccer said after the shooting that all “players and staff are accounted for and safe.”

Douglas Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, was also in the city to lead a presidential delegation at the World Cup’s opening ceremony. The U.S. Embassy in New Zealand reported that Emhoff was safe following the shooting, according to Reuters.

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