Shooting victims were construction workers

Armed police at the scene in downtown Auckland after a shooting incident which left multiple...
Armed police at the scene in downtown Auckland after a shooting incident which left multiple people dead yesterday. Photo / Jason Oxenham

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.”

Seven people remain in hospital and the “nation is in mourning” following the “terrifying, shocking and traumatic” mass shooting in downtown Auckland yesterday morning.

Matu Tangi Matua Reid. Supplied photo
Matu Tangi Matua Reid. Supplied photo

The shooter, 24-year-old Matu Tangi Matua Reid, entered the construction site on Queen St as school children and workers arrived in the city during the morning commute.

Reid had worked at the construction site, and Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said his rampage was connected to his work.

The New Zealand Herald understands he had been sacked the previous day.

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.

Workers sheltered on the roof of a construction site as emergency services dealt with the scene of an active shooter in downtown Auckland. Photo / Hayden Woodward

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.

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