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Vietnamese women’s football team safe following fatal shooting in Auckland

Vietnamese women’s football team safe following fatal shooting in Auckland

Thursday, July 20, 2023, 12:08 GMT+7
Vietnamese women’s football team safe following fatal shooting in Auckland
The scene of a fatal shooting in Auckland, New Zealand on July 20, 2023. Photo: Trung Nghia / Tuoi Tre

The Vietnamese women’s national football team were confirmed safe after a deadly shooting incident left at least three people dead and several injured in Auckland – New Zealand’s largest city – on Thursday morning.

The fatal shooting took place at a construction site on Queen Street in downtown Auckland just hours before the opening match of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup was set to kick off at 7:00 pm (local time) at the city’s Eden Park Stadium.

The Rydges Hotel, where the Vietnamese squad are staying, is just 600 meters away from the site of the shooting.

Vietnamese head coach Mai Duc Chung was informed of the shooting and the Vietnamese football team were ordered to shelter in place.

They are currently under the protection of New Zealand police.

After receiving the 'all-clear,' the Vietnamese squad joined a closed-door training session at Auckland’s Fred Taylor Park.

The Vietnamese women’s national football team was confirmed safe following a fatal shooting in Auckland, New Zealand on July 20, 2023. Photo: Trung Nghia / Tuoi Tre

The Vietnamese women’s national football team were confirmed safe following a fatal shooting in Auckland, New Zealand, July 20, 2023. Photo: Trung Nghia / Tuoi Tre

Though the Vietnamese players were scheduled for a break in the afternoon, many postponed plans to walk around the city and purchase souvenirs.

Vi An, a communications student at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that she was in class when the shooting occurred. 

She also noted that  AUT asked students to shelter in place and sent a security team to guard the school. Streets surrounding the university were also cordoned off.

An added that her family had bought over 20 tickets for the World Cup opening ceremony and, despite the shooting, was still excited about the game.

The fatal shooting shocked New Zealanders, most of whom are proud of their country’s high-level of safety, peace, and lack of gun violence. 

“I believe that the New Zealand police will ensure the opening match and the whole tournament take place smoothly,” Vi added.

Reuters cited Prime Minister Chris Hipkins as saying that the football tournament would proceed as planned, adding the shooting appeared to be the actions of a lone wolf and that police were not seeking any other suspects in relation to the incident.

"There was no identified political or ideological motivation for the shooting and therefore no national security risk," Hipkins said during a televised media briefing.

The gunman, who also died during the shooting, has not been formally identified but is believed to be a 24-year-old male who was employed at the construction site where the shooting occurred, Reuters quoted Police Commissioner Andrew Coster as telling a news conference.

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Hong Ngan - Vi An - Trung Nghia / Tuoi Tre News

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