Auckland shooting: Norway World Cup captain reveals team’s reaction after finding itself cornered by gunman rampage
Three people, including the gunman, were killed after the incident.Emergency services rushed to the high-rise building.Norwegian, American teams were stationed near the site.
The captain of Norway’s World Cup team has declared his players ‘feel safe at all times’ despite being caught up in a shooting incident in Auckland hours before the tournament’s opening match.
The first game of the cup will go ahead with plans to increase the police presence after a gunman rampaged through the city’s CBD on Thursday morning, killing three people.
New Zealand were due to play Norway in their tournament opener at Eden Park, 5km south of where the incident happened, with the gunman among the dead.
Police and government officials were adamant it was an isolated incident and not a wider national threat or a target for the tournament, which is being held across New Zealand and Australia.
Police officers rushed to the scene of a shooting in central Auckland, not far from the hotel where the Norwegian and American teams are staying.
Norway captain Maren Majelde (pictured training in Auckland earlier this week) revealed the team had been woken up by a police helicopter after shots were fired near their hotel.
Government officials have spoken to the World Cup organizers and confirmed that the tournament will go ahead as planned.
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said, ‘Obviously with the FIFA World Cup kicking off, Auckland has a lot of eyes on it.’
‘Those watching around the world can rest assured that the police have neutralized the threat.
“We are in regular contact with FIFA. They are proceeding according to plan. Ostensibly to reassure the public, there will be an increased police presence around Auckland, but police have indicated they do not believe there is an ongoing safety or security risk.’
The shooting took place near a World Cup fan festival site and the hotel where Norway was staying.
Norway captain Maren Majelde said the team was aware of the situation but ‘felt safe the whole time’ despite being around the corner from the site of the shots.
“Everybody probably woke up pretty quickly when the helicopter hovered outside the hotel window and a large number of emergency vehicles arrived,” Majelde said.
New Zealand Football shocked by incident in Auckland CBD this morning. We can confirm that all Football Ferns team and staff are safe but we are unable to comment further while details are still emerging. [1/2]
— New Zealand Football 🇳🇿 (@NZ_Football) July 19, 2023
The American team was also staying close to the scene but released a statement saying all players and staff were safe
‘At first we didn’t know what was happening, but eventually there were updates on TV and local media. We felt safe the entire time.
‘FIFA has a good security system at the hotel and we have our own security officers in the squad.
‘Everyone seems calm and we are preparing normally for the game tonight. Then we may have to adapt if there are any instructions from the authorities.’
After neutralizing the incident, police said there was no national security risk, nor was there a risk to the World Cup.
“What happened is understandably worrying, and we are reassuring the public that this incident has been contained and is an isolated incident,” the police statement said.
However, the fan festival that was supposed to take place in central Auckland local time has been delayed until the afternoon because it is located just meters away from where the incident took place.
The World Cup opener between New Zealand and Norway is going ahead as planned despite the shooting, but a fan festival has been delayed (pictured, armed police stand near the scene).
New Zealand’s World Cup team is also in the city center and issued a statement saying all players and staff are safe, with preparations for their opening match unchanged.
The American side is staying in a hotel near the area where the shooting took place. They released the following statement: ‘All our players and staff are accounted for and safe.
‘Our security team is liaising with local authorities and we are proceeding with our daily schedule.
‘US Soccer extends its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the shooting in downtown Oakland today.
‘We are saddened by the inexcusable loss of life in gun violence, and our thoughts are with the people of Auckland/Tamaki Makaurau and Aotearoa New Zealand.’