The bodies of the two victims of yesterday’s shootings in downtown Auckland, who were construction workers in their 40s, have been removed from the site.
Police believe the shooter’s body will also be removed tonight, however poor weather in the city today has hampered progress with the response.
Police will continue examining the scene over the weekend, and a cordon remains in place around the immediate vicinity of the scene. A scene guard remains tonight.
A gunman, 24-year-old Matu Tangi Matua Reid, entered the construction site on Queen St with a shotgun as school children and workers arrived in the city during the morning commute yesterday.
Reid – a convicted domestic abuser who was serving a home detention sentence – was later found dead, barricaded inside the high-rise’s lift shaft, after an exchange of fire with police and the Armed Offenders Squad.
Police appeal for photos, video footage
Police also launched an appeal for photographs and video footage of the incident, setting up an online portal where people can post these.
“We are aware there may be others who we have not yet spoken to, as well as people who have photos or video footage of the incident,” McKay said.
“If you did witness the incident and haven’t spoken to us yet, or if you have any information which you think may be relevant, please get in touch as soon as possible.”
People can also phone 105 or make a report online: “Please reference file number 230720/6744.”
Anonymous tips can be given via CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.
Two dead were construction workers in their 40s, police prioritising formal identification today
Police earlier said formally identifying the victims was today’s priority, with autopsies to be completed in the coming days.
Police have spoken with the two men’s families and are working alongside Victim Support “to ensure they are getting the support they need”, Detective Superintendent Ross McKay said.
“The names of the two victims, and that of the offender, will be released as soon as possible once formalities have been completed and the Coroner notified.”
“Police can confirm the victims were men aged in their 40s,” McKay said.
Both men worked at the construction site alongside the shooter.
A police officer injured in the shootout 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,” he said.
Armed Offenders Squad was at training camp near shooting scene
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking Breakfast the Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) was at a training camp near the crime scene at the time.
“That certainly assisted us,” he said.
But Coster said the quick police response “wasn’t a situation of luck”, though.
Shooter was convicted domestic abuser
Yesterday, 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 showed a probation officer assessed Reid as having a low risk of reoffending. The probation officer recommended home detention as a suitable sentence.
Tradies escape to rooftop as shooter moves up floors
Yesterday morning’s shooting was a “terrifying experience, shocking and traumatic” for victims, their families, the public and police officers on the scene, Coster said yesterday.
“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.”
About 7.20am, Reid 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, Patel said identifying the victims and telling their families was a priority.
He 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.
Visibly upset PM Hipkins calls police heroes
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.
Raphael Franks is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. He joined the Herald as a Te Rito cadet in 2022.