2 Men Killed in New Zealand Shooting Were Co-workers of Gunman, Who Had Violent Past

2 Men Killed in New Zealand Shooting Were Co-workers of Gunman, Who Had Violent Past
Armed New Zealand police officers stand outside a hotel housing a team from the FIFA Women's World Cup in the central business district following a shooting in Auckland, New Zealand, on July 20, 2023. (Abbie Parr/AP Photo)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand—The two men gunned down at a New Zealand construction site had worked alongside the shooter, police said Friday, and court records showed man had been convicted of domestic violence for attacking a girlfriend.

New Zealanders were still in shock at Thursday’s rare shooting, which closed part of downtown Auckland hours before the opening game of the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament, which was held under increased security. Police didn’t say if there was an immediate trigger for the man’s rampage.

The gunman stormed the high-rise building in the early morning, opening fire on terrified workers. He was found dead after a police shootout.

An officer who was shot and wounded remained hospitalized in stable condition Friday. Three civilians also remained hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, while two more had been released from hospital, authorities said.

Police told The Associated Press they had yet to formally identify the gunman but did not dispute reports it was Matu Reid, 24, who was serving a home detention sentence but had an exemption to work at the building site.

Court records obtained by news organization Stuff show Reid was found guilty of domestic violence after beating his then-girlfriend in 2021. The records indicate he used weapons including scissors and a wine bottle, punched her, kicked her in the stomach and squeezed her throat for about 10 seconds, causing her to fear for her life.

The woman escaped from Reid and called police from a gas station.

A judge in March sentenced Reid to five months in home detention.

“I do not want to send a young man like you, with a limited history, to prison,” the judge said in his sentencing notes. “I think it would be counterproductive and actually set you down the wrong path.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the shooting was an isolated act, and the FIFA tournament opened as scheduled Thursday night with a game between the home team and Norway.

More than 40,000 people, including the prime minister, attended—the largest crowd to ever watch a soccer match in New Zealand. It ended with an historic win for the home team, its first in a World Cup game.

Police said the gunman in Thursday’s attack had used a type of shotgun that is not banned under the new laws. But he didn’t have a gun license and so shouldn’t have been in possession of a firearm, police added.

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