Man shot inside U.S. soccer team's hotel

Updated: January 19, 2012, 8:32 AM ET
Associated Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The U.S. women's soccer team is staying put despite a fatal shooting at the hotel where the players are staying for the Olympic qualifying tournament.

"We know we're in a very safe place," goalkeeper Hope Solo said Wednesday. "I feel safe. And I know the team has no second thoughts about being here."

No one in the American delegation witnessed the shooting, which took place at the Sheraton Wall Centre at about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday. Police found the body of a man dead in one of the hotel's restaurants.

"We were at a meeting. We were meeting and talking soccer," coach Pia Sundhage said. "We're safe and secure."

Teams from Cuba and the Dominican Republic also are staying at the hotel.

After the shooting, Solo tweeted: "Saved by our instant yoga session. Was about to walk to starbucks when all hell broke loose in the lobby of our hotel! Life is precious..."

"I think all of us were a bit scared," Solo said Wednesday. "I think that's the reality of the situation. We all travel all around the world -- big cities, small cities -- and I think it's a normal thing that crime happens, so we were aware of the situation. It was scary for us, but I think it was handled incredibly well by the hotel and of course the police officers.

"I think every experience in life affects us. You start to question what life's all about, and you start to think about your loved ones. I think that's pretty normal."

Police said the incident appeared to be gang-related. It is the city's first homicide of the year.

"It was a little scary at first,'' forward Alex Morgan said. "I've never been so close to a shooting even though we were upstairs. Everyone was taken care of really well by our general manager. We were calling down and guest services was very nice to us and telling us not to come down. The situation was handled really well.

"I don't think this affects us at all. Even though it was in our hotel, we didn't witness it so I don't think that's going to be a problem. We were definitely a little shaken up the first moments when we heard about it.'"

Richard Scott, with Soccer Canada, said CONCACAF officials went to the hotel after the shooting to confirm no one was injured.

"I would imagine that probably 99 percent of the athletes would have been in their rooms at that time," he said.

The eight-team CONCACAF tournament begins Thursday with Canada against Haiti. The U.S. team plays the Dominican Republic on Friday.

The tournament runs through Jan. 29.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press