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Constructor tells of moment eight Tongan workers came close to gunman in Auckland shooting

A Tongan construction worker has described the terrifying moment his team were told to return to where they were as the gunman was coming their way.

Uate Vea. Photo/Supplied

Uate Vea said they were at level 21 of the building where the shooting took place, about six levels away from the gunman, when they were instructed to leave.

“We ran down to level 15 before we were told to return to level 16 because the gunman was coming close to level 15 so we ran back to level 16”, Vea told Kaniva News.

He said while they were on the move to level 16 he heard more gunshots.

“I knew at the time the gunman was close to us, so we ran back to level 21”, he said.

Vea said he was thankful that the Police were quick to send the chopper which helped save them.

“I will never forget this terrifying experience”, he said.

“I often saw the news when shooting incidents happened around the world but this time I experience it”.

He said there were eight Tongans altogether in his team and he understood there were more Tongans working at the site.

Police have identified the gunman as 24-year-old Matu Reid.

He went on the shooting spree at the Auckland CBD building being renovated near Britomart this morning where he killed two people before eventually being shot dead by police.

Ten others were wounded in the shooting, with seven of them requiring hospital treatment.

Reid was on home detention with an ankle bracelet after being sentenced for crimes, 1news report said.

“Court records reveal more details on the crimes he previously committed before today’s tragedy unfolded”.

The dead included two civilians after the gunman armed with a pump-action shotgun stormed the buildingat 1 Queen St.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the whole nation was mourning at a 5pm press conference.

“The victims went to work this morning as they do every morning, but they won’t be coming home tonight,” he was quoted as saying by the NZ Herald.

Two police officers were shot at, Hipkins said, and his thoughts were with them.

“They are New Zealand heroes.”

The incident Reid was sentenced for this year took place on September 16, 2021.