Two male construction workers aged in their 40s have been confirmed as the pair killed in yesterday’s Auckland CBD shootings.
Police say formally identifying the victims is today’s priority, with autopsies to be completed in the coming days.
The two men killed by the gunman were both aged in their 40s worked at the construction site alongside the shooter, who was also killed.
A police officer injured in the shoot out was now in a stable condition in hospital, Superintendent Sunny Patel said today. A second officer was recovering at home.
“Three other people injured in the incident remain in hospital with non-life threatening injuries, and two people have been discharged from hospital,” Patel said.
“Police are not aware at this stage of any further people presenting at hospital with injuries.”
Patel described yesterday’s shootings as “incredibly traumatic for all involved”.
“We know New Zealanders have many questions about what occurred. I can assure you that a large investigation team is working to provide answers to those questions, particularly for the families of the two men who lost their lives and the other workers caught up in this tragedy.”
Earlier: AOS police were at a training camp near CBD shooting scene
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster told TVNZ’s Breakfast they had identified the victims and were due to speak to family of the pair.
“We believed that they had been people who had been working at the site.”
Coster told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking Breakfast the Armed Offenders Squad was in a training camp nearby at the time of the incident.
“That certainly assisted us.”
But Coster said the quick police response “wasn’t a situation of luck” though.
Investigations are set to continue in the coming days, with questions remaining over the shooter’s motives, how he got a gun without a licence and how the man - who was serving a home detention sentence - was able to offend.
The shooter, 24-year-old Matu Tangi Matua Reid, entered a construction site and killed two people on Queen St as school children and workers arrived in the city during the morning commute.
The Herald understands he had been sacked the previous day.
He also shot a police officer, who was sent to hospital in a critical, yet stable condition. Police were supporting the officer’s family.
Another police officer was injured. At least 10 people were injured in total, St John Ambulance said, and police believed there may be more.
The shooter had worked at the construction site, and Coster said his rampage was connected to his work.
In a statement, construction company LT McGuiness said the gunman was an employee of a subcontractor that had been working on the project.
Reid - a convicted domestic abuser - was later found dead, barricaded inside the high-rise’s lift shaft, after an exchange of fire with police and the Armed Offenders Squad.
At about 7.20am, he moved up the floors of the One Queen Street building, in the Commercial Bay precinct opposite the Ferry Building and Britomart train station, firing a shotgun multiple times at tradies.
Police cordoned off Customs, Lower Hobson, Lower Albert, Queen and Quay Sts as emergency services descended on the downtown area about 7.30am. Armed police and the Armed Offenders Squad stormed the building about 7.58am.
Workers hid in the building, with some escaping to the roof of the 21-storey tower as police yelled at bystanders to get away and ushered them to shelter in the nearby HSBC building.
The two victims were found dead on the lower floors. Last night, relieving Auckland district commander Acting Superintendent Sunny Patel said identifying the victims and telling their families was a priority.
Patel said police had spoken to up to 70 witnesses as of 6pm yesterday, and the cordons had been reduced to the immediate vicinity of the worksite.
A visibly upset Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the whole nation was in mourning for the victims: “They went to work [yesterday] morning as they do every morning, but they won’t be coming home.
“The trauma of this event will be significant,” Hipkins said.
He said the two police officers shot were in his thoughts: “They are New Zealand heroes.”
Earlier in the day, Hipkins and the Police Commissioner assured the public there was no national security risk and there was no ideological motive behind the tragedy.
Hipkins, who explained the offender used a pump-action shotgun, said Corrections would do a full review of the offender’s management and had confidence police would find out why and how the shooting happened.
With the shooting happening the morning of the Fifa Women’s World Cup opening game at Eden Park, the Prime Minister assured people it would go ahead and would be safe.
“This is a standalone incident. People should feel safe while out and about in Auckland. It is safe to go to the Fifa opening event - we would have preferred it to not have started this way [but] I will be going [and] it will be safe to go.”
Extra security was put on at Eden Park, while Fifa’s Fan Festival at The Cloud nearby the scene of the shooting was cancelled.
The Philippines and Norway women’s football teams were nearby when the incident unfolded. The Norwegian team were staying at M Social, about 400 metres from the scene.
Coster said police had been involved in the planning of the Fifa World Cup for some time and would be well-placed to manage the risks of the event.
Coster called yesterday morning’s incident a “terrifying experience, shocking and traumatic” for victims, their families, the public and police officers on the scene.
“It was an incredibly alarming incident for workers just starting their working day,” he said.
“I’m incredibly proud of the actions our officers took.”
Coster wouldn’t confirm whether the shooter was Reid, but did confirm the offender was on home detention and had an exemption to work at the site.
His family violence history was known but Coster said there was nothing that showed prior risk.
“There has been [a] previous search of his property, but [officers] never found him in possession of a firearm,” he said.
Court documents obtained by the Herald show the violent 2021 offending for which Reid was serving a sentence of home detention took place when he was subject to an earlier community-based sentence for an assault in 2020.
Reid admitted charges of impeding breathing, injuring with intent to injure, wilful damage and male assaults female. Strangulation carries a maximum term of imprisonment of seven years.
The sentencing notes of Judge Stephen Bonnar KC showed a probation officer assessed Reid as having a low risk of reoffending. The probation officer recommended home detention as a suitable sentence.
Raphael Franks is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. He joined the Herald as a Te Rito cadet in 2022.
Jaime Lyth is an Auckland-based reporter who covers crime. She joined the Herald in 2021 and has previously reported for The Northern Advocate.