Two men who opened fire at a New Zealand construction site worked with the shooter, and court records show the man was convicted of domestic violence for assaulting a girlfriend, police said Friday.
New Zealanders were still reeling from Thursday’s rare shooting, which shut down a section of downtown Auckland hours before the opening game of the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament, amid heightened security. Police have not said if there was an immediate motive for the man’s rampage, although some media reported that he had recently been fired from his job at the location.
The gunman stormed the high-rise in the early hours of the morning, opening fire on terrified workers. He was found dead after police firing.
New Zealand gunman storms construction site, kills several, injures others: police
An officer who was shot and wounded remained hospitalized in stable condition Friday. Officials said that three civilians are also hospitalized with serious injuries, while two more have been discharged from the hospital.
Police told The Associated Press that they had not yet officially identified the gunman but did not dispute reports that it was 24-year-old Mato Reed, who was serving a house arrest sentence but had a permit to work on the building site.
Court records obtained by the news organization show Reed was convicted of domestic violence in 2021 after beating his then-girlfriend. Records show he used weapons including scissors and a wine bottle, punched her, kicked her in the stomach and choked her for about 10 seconds, threatening her life.
The woman ran away from Reid and called the police at a gas station.
In March, a judge sentenced Reid to five months of house arrest.
“I don’t want to send a young man like you, with a limited history, to prison,” the judge said in his sentencing notes. “I think that would be counterproductive and would actually lead you down the wrong path.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hopkins said the shooting was an isolated incident, and the FIFA tournament began as scheduled with a game between the home team and Norway on Thursday night.
New Zealand won their first ever Women’s World Cup match, hours after two people were killed in a shooting in Auckland
More than 40,000 people attended, including the Prime Minister – the largest crowd ever to watch a football match in New Zealand. It ended with a historic win for the home team, the first in a World Cup game.
New Zealand has strict gun laws, enacted in 2019 after the country’s worst mass shooting caused a sea change in attitudes toward guns. In this attack, a gunman killed 51 Muslim worshipers during Friday prayers in two mosques in Christchurch.
Then-Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed to ban most semi-automatic weapons within a month and succeeded, with only one member of parliament voting against the ban.
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In a subsequent buyback scheme, gun owners turned over more than 50,000 newly banned weapons to police in exchange for cash.
Police said the gunman in Thursday’s attack used a type of shotgun that is not banned under the new laws. But he did not have a gun license and therefore should not have had the firearm, police added.