What We Know So Far
- Forty-nine people were killed and more than 40 others injured after shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
- The suspected shooter, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant, has been charged with murder. Two additional people remain in custody. (Police said a third person arrested was detained on an unrelated matter.)
- “It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
- Police found a number of improvised explosive devices strapped to vehicles.
- The gunman appears to have livestreamed video of the attack online and left a lengthy racist manifesto where he outlined a white supremacist motivation for the attack and described the victims as “invaders.”
- Police have gone to a property “of interest” in Dunedin, around 200 miles south of Christchurch.
- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that one of the individuals taken into custody is an Australian-born citizen.
- All mosques in the country were asked to “shut their doors” until further notice. Climate change rallies taking place across the city were evacuated.
Family members and friends of victims are pleading for information on social media, posting photos of loved ones they can no longer get a hold of
Daoud Nabi was humble and “one of the kindest people you’ve ever met,” a friend said. The 71-year-old often went to the airport to greet refugees, helping them start new lives in a country he, too, had made his home. He was an engineer and ran his community’s Afghan Association.
Nabi died Friday afternoon trying to shield another worshiper as a gunman burst into the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, opening fire during prayer services, his son, Omar Nabi, told local media.
Omar Nabi’s father was one of 49 people killed during a rampage at two mosques in what New Zealand officials have called a right-wing, extremist terrorist attack and one of the deadliest mass shootings in the country’s history.
Read more here
– Brianna Sacks
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern met with members of the Muslim community in Christchurch on Saturday morning
People have been leaving messages of support and tributes in the city’s Hagley Park
New Zealand’s ruling Labour party has released a statement on Instagram providing details for those who may need help
The caption reads: “A reminder that if you need to speak to someone, or if you are feeling distressed, you can call or text 1737. There are extra staff available. That number is available to everyone.
“If you are trying to locate loved ones, you can call 0800 115 019 to register missing persons if you are in New Zealand, or visit the website Restoring Family Links – https://familylinks.icrc.org/new-zealand/”
New Zealand’s attorney-general David Parker has reportedly told people in Auckland that the government will ban semi-automatic rifles
According to the New Zealand Herald, a crowd at a vigil in Aotea Square cheered loudly at the news.
The reported remarks follow prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement this morning that the country’s gun laws would change in the wake of the Christchurch attacks.
Thirty-nine victims, 11 of whom are in critical condition, are still being treated at Christchurch hospital, officials said
Thirty-nine people who were injured in the mosque attacks were still being treated at Christchurch Hospital Saturday afternoon.
Greg Robertson, chief of surgery at the hospital, told reporters that 11 of those patients were in critical condition.
Of the 48 victims initially admitted to the hospital, seven have been discharged and one patient, a 4-year-old girl was transferred to Starship Hospital in Auckland, Robertson said. One patient, a middle-aged man, died at the hospital.
The injured range in age from the very young to elderly. Their gunshot wounds vary from what Robertson described as “superficial soft tissue injuries” to more complex wounds involving the chest, abdomen, pelvis, and head.
“Many of the people will require multiple trips to [operating] theater to deal with the complex series of injuries that they have,” he said.
Robertson said that while the hospital has had experience with mass casualty events, like in the 2010 Canterbury earthquake, staff were “stunned” by the terror attack.
“It’s hard to imagine that this could happen in Christchurch,” he said.
— Stephanie K. Baer
The prime minister is giving another press conference in Christchurch
She has said 39 people remain in hospital, with 11 in intensive care. The victims range from children to the elderly.
“[It is] clear that young people have been caught up in this horrific attack,” Jacinda Ardern said.
The prime minister said the accused was in custody within 36 minutes of the first emergency call.
Ardern said the suspect had sporadically visited New Zealand, “but spent periods of time here when he visited”.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford has tweeted a picture on him placing a tribute to the victims of yesterday’s attacks
Sky News Australia pulled from the air in New Zealand for broadcasting shooter’s video
Satellite TV provider Sky New Zealand has removed Sky News Australia from its platform after the channel broadcast video apparently shot by the gunman who opened fire on two Christchurch mosques, leaving 49 people dead.
In a tweet posted Saturday morning, Sky New Zealand announced:
“We stand in support of our fellow New Zealanders and have made the decision to remove Sky News Australia from our platforms until we are confident that the distressing footage from yesterday’s events will not be shared.”
Read more here.
People around the world are leaving bouquets outside their local mosques.
Flowers have been left at mosques around New Zealand but also in Australia, across the United Kingdom, in the United States and in Norway.
Read more here.
The man charged over the Christchurch mosque shootings has appeared in court where he did not apply for bail or for the suppression of his name, ABC has reported.
Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, briefly appeared at Christchurch District Court on Saturday morning.
“While the man is currently facing only one charge, further charges will be laid,” New Zealand Police tweeted earlier on Saturday morning. “Details of those charges will be communicated at the earliest possible opportunity.”
Tarrant was handcuffed and not required to speak.
After he left the courtroom, the judge said that while “there is one charge of murder brought at the moment, it is reasonable to assume that there will be others”, AP reported.
He has been remanded in custody until April 5.
Here is an eyewitness account from inside one of the Christchurch mosque shootings
A survivor of the Christchurch mosque shootings recounted how he continued to pray after hearing gunshots outside the Linwood Ave mosque.
Mazharuddin Syed Ahmed, 47, said he immediately recognized it was gunshots directly outside the mosque because of the loud noise, which was accompanied by screams.
“We kept praying for the first two or three shots,” Syed Ahmed, who was in the front row of the mosque, told Angle News on Saturday morning. “Then suddenly he came towards the main door. People started screaming and everybody got out of the prayer.”
Read more here.
Trump downplayed the threat from white nationalists after the deadly New Zealand attacks
President Trump said Friday he doesn’t view white nationalism as a growing threat after the deadly terror attack in New Zealand that left 49 people dead was carried out by a white supremacist gunman who left behind a racist manifesto calling his victims “invaders.”
“I don’t really,” Trump said from the Oval Office after being asked by a reporter. “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.”
Read more here.
The 28-year-old man charged with murder appeared at Christchurch District Court on Saturday morning
“While the man is currently facing only one charge, further charges will be laid,” New Zealand Police said. “Details of those charges will be communicated at the earliest possible opportunity.”
New Zealand’s police commissioner Mike Bush is travelling to Christchurch on Saturday morning where he will speak to the media, accompanied by the Canterbury District Commander and “other local emergency service leaders”.
“Our gun laws will change,” New Zealand’s prime minister said after the mosque attacks
The day after more than 40 were killed in mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand in one of the worst mass shootings in the nation’s history, the country’s prime minister vowed to strengthen the country’s gun laws.
“I can tell you one thing right now: our gun laws will change,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said during a press conference Saturday morning. “Now is the time for change.”
Read more here.
—Stephanie K. Baer and David Mack
Christchurch’s mayor says the city has begun digging graves for the victims
Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel vowed to rebuild and support the Muslim community in her city, promising to help the victims and survivors bury their friends and loved ones.
“They are our friends and they are our neighbors and we embrace them,” she told reporters in a press conference on Saturday morning local time. “We want to come together to support them and give them the time and space they need to deal with the immediate issues at hand. We still have injured people in the hospital.”
The mayor said city officials had already started gathering funds and resources to begin the unprecedented undertaking of burying the 49 worshipers. The coroner is still identifying the bodies and the mayor said she did not have any immediate information as to when they will be released.
“We have a large number of funerals,” she said, “and there are specific requirements for Muslim funerals and we are working closely with the community to make sure we have the appropriate spaces for these ceremonies and graves.”
“Graves are being dug today,” she added.
Echoing other leaders in New Zealand, Dalziel expressed shock and “revulsion” that her “safe city” is the latest to mourn a massive terrorist attack.
“This sort of extremism is something we have not seen before,” she said, but she reiterated that the gunman “is not from here” and “did not develop this hatred here.”
“His voice was the voice of hate and I will not give voice to it,” she said.
President Trump spoke with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to offer support to New Zealand after the deadly attack
President Trump spoke with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Friday, a day after a deadly attack targeting Christchurch mosques left 49 people dead.
“I informed the Prime Minister that we stand in solidarity with New Zealand – and that any assistance the U.S.A. can give, we stand ready to help,” Trump said in a series of tweets Friday afternoon.
Trump’s call to the prime minister came after the White House issued a statement condemning the mass shooting.
In an early morning tweet, the president also offered his “warmest sympathy and best wishes” to the people of New Zealand.
“Do not abandon your mosques”: America Muslim leaders encouraged the community to attend Friday’s prayer
Islamic community leaders in the US urged American Muslims not to be afraid of attending Friday’s weekly prayers after the attack in New Zealand.
“Millions of Muslims will be in mosques in the next couple of hours, concerned and fearful of their lives,” Nihad Awad, the founder of the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR), said during a press conference on Friday.
“They are being told to be afraid by white supremacists and political leaders who believe in white supremacy. We tell our community, do not be afraid and do not abandon your mosques. Not today. Not ever,” Awad said.
Along with other civil rights leaders, CAIR’s members condemned the terrorist attack and called for unity and solidarity with all minorities.
They also urged the Trump administration to push back against growing anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments in the country and around the world.
CAIR members referred to the alleged attacker’s racist manifesto where he mentioned Trump and called the victim’s “invaders” — anti-immigrant rhetoric that has been echoed by some conservative media outlets and the Trump administration to describe immigrants at the US border.
While the alleged shooter cited several right-wing personalities in an attempt to publicize his manifesto, CAIR leaders called on Trump to “clearly condemn” the attack and said his tweet about the attack was “hollow.”
“Mr. Trump, your words matter, your policies matter,” Awad said. “They impact the lives of innocent people at home and globally. You should condemn this not only as a hate crime, but as a white supremacist terrorist attack. You need to assure us American Muslims that we are protected, and you will not tolerate any physical attack against us, again.”
A 66-year-old woman helped an injured man call his wife on the phone during the shooting
Jill Keats, a 66-year-old woman who helped treat an injured victim during the shooting and called his wife for him, is being hailed as a hero for her actions.
Keats was driving down Deans Avenue to go to the mall when she heard what she thought were firecrackers and saw young men running down the street, Newshub, a New Zealand news outlet, reported.
“[But] all of a sudden it got quite violent, and I thought, That’s not firecrackers — and they just started falling,” Keats told Newshub. “One fell to the left of my car and one fell to the right.”
Keats said she stopped her car in shock and leaned over her seats to avoid the bullets. She saw that one of the men who was lying near her car had been shot in the back.
She then opened her car doors and, with the help of another driver behind her, put the injured victim in the back of her car to protect him from the gunfire.
The other driver went to get a first aid kit from his car, and they both began dressing the victim’s wound.
Keats said she was shaking so hard that a “nice Muslim guy came up and gave me some help” to compress the victim’s wound.
“The guy I was compressing, he was trying to ring his wife and I managed to get it and answer the phone and I said, ‘Your husband’s been shot outside the mosque. Don’t come here to Deans Ave, you won’t get through — but please go to a hospital and wait for him,'” Keats recalled.
“Then I kept talking to him and telling him that she was at the hospital waiting and he wasn’t to give up,” Keats said.
Keats and the other driver held pressure on him until help arrived. She said that another victim who had fallen across the road had died while she was helping the injured man.
“I couldn’t get to him because that was where the gunfire was coming from,” Keats said.
When the Newshub anchor commended her actions and called her a hero, Keats shook her head and said, “No, I’m not. You just do what you do at the time. I wish I could’ve done more.”
“I’m 66,” Keats said, breaking down after describing the devastating scene. “I never thought in my life I would see something like this. Not in New Zealand.”
Watch her full interview here.
In the US, the White House has condemned the attacks in New Zealand
“The United States strongly condemns the attack in Christchurch,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
“We stand in solidarity with the people of New Zealand and their government against this vicious act of hate.”
President Donald Trump subsequently tweeted his condolences.
The Queen has joined world leaders sharing their shock and sadness at the attack
In a statement, Queen Elizabeth II said she was “deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch.”
New Zealand is part of the Commonwealth and the Queen is the country’s formal head of state.
French President Emmanuel Macron also condemned the attack and said France stood against all forms of extremism.
European Council President Donald Tusk said Europe’s thoughts were with the victims and their families. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern “can count on our solidarity,” he wrote.
Earlier, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and UK Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the attack and said their thoughts were with all those affected by the violence.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack. “This reaffirms what we have always maintained: that terrorism does not have a religion,” he wrote on Twitter. “Prayers go to the victims and their families.”
New Zealand police are at a property “of interest” in Dunedin
Police are “in attendance” at a property in Dunedin after 49 people were killed in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.
“This is a location of interest in relation to the serious firearms incident in Christchurch today,” they said on Twitter.
Dunedin is around 200 miles south of Christchurch. The property is on Somerville Street, to the east of the city.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush has said that 49 people are confirmed dead
Forty-one people died at the Deans Avenue mosque and seven at the Linwood mosque, Bush said in a press conference. Of the 40 people treated at the Christchurch Hospital, one has died.
A man in his late twenties has been charged with murder and will appear in court on Saturday morning, Bush said.
A further three people are in custody. Two of them were apprehended in possession of firearms. Another person was armed and at the scene, but police believe they “may have had nothing to do with this incident,” Bush said.
Bush said that police had recovered a number of firearms from both mosques. Asked whether the man charged had explosives on his body, Bush said: “What I can say is that that person may have suggested that. We’ve eliminated that as a possibility. There was not.”
Armed officers will be present around all of New Zealand’s mosques “to ensure nothing further occurs”, Bush said, but confirmed that there had been no further threats.
Earlier police had suggested there were IED devices on two vehicles. “I’d like to clarify that and say there were possibly two IEDs on one vehicle,” Bush said. Police have disabled one and are in the process of disabling the other, with the assistance of the defence force.
Bush also confirmed that two bags that police investigated in Auckland did not pose a threat.
UK prime minister Theresa May has issued this statement:
Forty-eight people, ranging from young children to adults, are being treated for gunshot wounds at Christchurch Hospital
David Meates, chief executive of the Canterbury District Health Board, said the injuries range from critical to minor.
He said additional patients with gunshot wounds presented to other health facilities.
“Around 200 family members are on site awaiting news of their loved ones. Together with police we are providing support to these people.”
“We envisage we will see an increasing demand for wellbeing support over the coming days and weeks as the reality and enormity of what has happened in our city today sinks in.”
British Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said the UK stands “with New Zealand and Muslims across the world against all forms of racism and anti-muslim hatred”
Police will provide an update in the next half an hour
“Australia and New Zealand are not just allies, we’re not just partners, we are family,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said
“As family members with our New Zealand cousins, today we grieve, we are shocked, we are appalled, we are outraged, and we stand here and condemn absolutely the attack that occurred today by an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist that has taken the lives, stolen the lives, in a vicious, murderous attack, that has claimed so many New Zealanders.”
40 people are believed to be dead, says New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Ardern said 10 people died at the Linwood Avenue mosque and a further 30 died at the Deans Avenue mosque.
Another 20 are seriously injured and in Christchurch Hospital.
Ardern said she did not have information on the ages of the victims, but said there was a range and they would have been “brothers, fathers, sons”.
“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” Ardern said. “From what we know, it does appear to have been well planned. Two explosive devices attached to suspect vehicles have now been found and they have been disarmed.”
Intelligence agencies, police, and the defence force are all involved in the response, and the national security threat has been lifted from low to high, Ardern said.
“There are currently four individuals that have been apprehended, but three are connected to this attack who are currently in custody. One of which has publicly stated that they were Australian-born,” Ardern said.
“These are people who I would describe as having extremist views, that have absolutely no place in New Zealand, and in fact have no place in the world.”
Ardern said she has been advised the people in custody were not on security watch lists. Asked why not, she said, “It is an indication … that they had not acted in a way that warranted it.”
She said every New Zealander would be shocked by the attack, adding, “This is not who we are.”
“We have undoubtedly experienced an attack today that is unprecedented, unlike anything we have experienced before. But, as I say, New Zealand has been chosen because we are not a place where violent extremism exists. We reject those notions and we must continue to reject them.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that one of the individuals taken into custody is an Australia-born citizen
He said that fact will led to Australian investigation as well, which will be shared with the New Zealand authorities.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is due to give another statement later
New Zealand’s men’s rugby team, the All Blacks, have sent their thoughts to Christchurch
“Christchurch, we stand with you during this time. Our thoughts and sympathies are with everyone affected by today’s tragedy. Stay strong. Kia Kaha. 🖤”
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube said they are working to remove all versions of the livestreamed video of the shooting from their platforms
Representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube said they have suspended the accounts of a suspected gunman and are working to remove all versions of a video of the shooting from their platforms.
Mia Garlick, a spokesperson for Facebook New Zealand, said in a statement that police alerted the company to the video that the gunman appears to have live-streamed of the shooting soon after the incident began.
“Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by this horrendous act. New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we removed both the shooter’s Facebook account and the video.”
Garlick added that they are also working to remove “any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters.”
A spokesperson for YouTube said in a statement, “Shocking, violent and graphic content has no place on our platforms, and is removed as soon as we become aware of it.”
Twitter also said it had taken down the account of the suspected gunman and was working to remove all versions of the video.
Facebook also said they had taken down the suspected shooter’s Instagram account.
—Stephanie K. Baer and Ryan Mac
Police have also confirmed the lockdown of schools throughout Christchurch has been lifted
“We would like to reassure members of the public that there is a large police presence in the city and the safety of the community is our priority,” New Zealand police said in a statement.
New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush has confirmed four people — three men and one woman — are in custody
Police had found a number of improvised explosive devices strapped to vehicles, and these have now been secured by the defence force, Bush said.
He did not comment on a possible motive, or confirm the shootings were being treated as terrorist attacks.
“We’re looking at the circumstances that surround that. It doesn’t get any more serious,” Bush said.
He said police are not assuming the situation is isolated to Christchurch.
“I’m just deeply, deeply saddened that this would happen in New Zealand,” said New Zealand rugby player Sonny Bill Williams
New Zealand’s upcoming cricket match with Bangladesh has been canceled
A member of a neighboring Muslim organization said they were stunned to learn they were once a target
Speaking from inside the locked-down Otago Muslim Association, situated about 350 kilometers south of Christchurch in the coastal town of Dunedin, Haizal Hussaini said he was in disbelief that his organization was once a target mentioned in the alleged shooter’s manifesto.
Hussaini says the mosque, which serves about 400 Muslims in the community, posted a video in 2012 about the growth of Islam in the US.
“It came to my attention that this person reacted to this video and that partly triggered the attack,” the 45-year-old said. “My immediate reaction was to delete it so others don’t see it.”
As the shooting unfolded, police descended upon the mosque and have been stationed outside for hours, he said.
“It’s all so terrible and outrageous,” he said. “The community is close and international. We are peaceful and we get along well. This is all so shocking. A loss for words.”
Hussaini said that police officers and local media had reported that 27 people died in the attack, but officials have not yet confirmed that number.
The Otago Muslim Association had a “close, friendly relationship” with the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, which serves a larger congregation of Muslims.
“I knew everyone there, it seemed,” he said. “I feel such sorrow.”
Some images from the scene in central Christchurch:
Police have released some more information
In a Twitter thread, New Zealand police said:
Due to the ongoing serious firearms incident in Central Christchurch Police would like to remind all parents and caregivers that schools across the city remain in lock down. There is no timeframe at this stage for when the lock down will be lifted. The children are being taken care of by schools. On advice from Police, schools will communicate directly with parents when the lock down is lifted. The safety of the community is our priority.
We will provide updates on the incident as and when they are available and you can get these on our Facebook page and website.
Media please note the stand up with Commissioner Mike Bush has been pushed back to 5.30pm. This will be held at the Royal Society on Turnbull Street, Thorndon, Wellington.
The US ambassador to New Zealand has also tweeted
New Zealand’s public broadcaster has spoken to the Christchurch mayor and a 14-year-old girl who was attending the nearby climate rally
Players from the Bangladesh Cricket team escaped the deadly shooting in Christchurch
All members of the Bangladesh national cricket team, who were in Christchurch for an upcoming match, escaped the deadly shooting at two mosques and the nearby streets.
Minutes after shots rang out in the New Zealand city, players from the team tweeted about escaping the violent attack.
“We r extremely lucky,” one of the players, Mushfiqur Rahim, tweeted. “Never want to see this things happen again…pray for us.”
Team officials said in a statement that all players had returned to their hotel and were deemed safe after the attack.
New Zealand police are due to hold a press conference at 5 p.m. local time (in about 30 minutes)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has tweeted
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern is now speaking. She said: “This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
“Clearly, what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” Ardern said.
She confirmed police have one suspect in custody and there are multiple scenes.
“Christchurch Hospital is dedicated to treating those who are arriving at the hospital as we speak as well. As soon as I leave here, I will be returning directly on a flight to Wellington. Agencies are already convening in Wellington. I will be looking to meet with them as soon as I land.”
Asked if she viewed the shooting as a “hate crime”, Ardern replied: “I would describe it as an unprecedented act of violence, an act that has absolutely no place in New Zealand. This is not who we are.”
“Certainly, it has occurred in a place where people should have been expressing their religious freedom. Where they should have been in a safe environment. And they have not been today.
“There is no place in New Zealand for such extreme acts of unprecedented violence. The people who were the subject of this attack today, New Zealand is their home. They should be safe here. The person who has perpetuated this violent act against them, they have no place in New Zealand society.”
Police say there are multiple fatalities at two mosques in the Christchurch area
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said in a live-streamed video statement Friday that there were multiple fatalities after shootings at two mosques in the Christchurch area, adding that one person was in custody.
“We are dealing with a very serious and tragic series of events,” Bush said in the video posted to Facebook. “We have one person in custody but we are unsure if there are other people.”
Bush said the fatalities occurred at a mosques on Deans and Linwood Avenues, adding that police were unsure whether any other locations that were “under threat.”
“Stay indoors if you’re in that location,” he said. “I want to ask that anyone that was thinking of going to the mosque anywhere in New Zealand today not to go. Close your doors until you hear form us again.”
—Stephanie K. Baer
The gunman appears to have livestreamed video of the shooting online
The gunman appears to have live-streamed the shooting, filming himself loading several weapons inscribed with names into a silver van and driving to the central Christchurch mosque.
Gun drawn, he walks through a gate to the entrance of the mosque and begins firing on people inside. According to the footage, the gunman was live-streaming through a GoPro device and onto Facebook. The nearly 17-minute video was also posted onto YouTube.
In the first few minutes, the gunman says, “Remember lads, subscribe to Pewdiepie,” a popular meme among the followers of the Swedish YouTuber, who has in the past spewed racial slurs and made anti-Semitic comments on his channel.
A Twitter account that appeared to be associated with the gunman posted photos of the weapons used in the attack footage. The user also appears to have shared links to a manifesto around the time the shooting began.
At more than 74 pages, the document outlines a white supremacist motivation for the attack. The writer, who identifies himself as a 28-year-old white man born in Australia, quotes the so-called “14 Words,” the slogan shared by white supremacists worldwide. He said that while he supported white nationalist groups, he alone had decided to carry out the attack. He described the victims as “invaders” and accused them of seeking to replace white people. He wrote about attacking two mosques, one in Linwood and one in Christchurch. He focused on the latter because it was larger, he wrote.
The Twitter account only started posting content on March 12, repeatedly sharing white nationalist content about “illegal immigrants.” Twice, the user shared a Facebook profile for the Otago Muslim Association, which the manifesto said was the first choice for the attack.
In one tweet, the user posted a Daily Mail story about a stabbing attack at a restaurant in Berlin. In response, he wrote, “How many of these attacks are quickly forgotten?”
—Brianna Sacks and Claudia Koerner
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will address the nation at 4 p.m. local time (in about 20 minutes), Sky News has reported
Several hundred people were at the mosque when the shooting began
Friday’s shooting took place during scheduled prayer at Masjid Al Noor, which regularly draws several hundred people.
The mosque was built in 1985 and was the first in Christchurch.
Eyewitness Mohan Ibrahim told the New Zealand Herald he was one of hundreds of people in the mosque when shots were heard on Friday afternoon.
“At first we thought it was an electric shock but then all these people started running,” he said.
“I still have friends inside. I have been calling my friends but there are many I haven’t heard from. I am scared for my friends [sic] lives.”
Here is the latest update from police:
An eyewitness has told the Associated Press they believe “many people have been killed” in a mass shooting in the Masjid Al Noor mosque
Len Peneha told AP he saw a man dressed in black enter the mosque and then heard dozens of shots.
“I saw dead people everywhere,” he said.
Peneha said he saw the gunman flee before emergency services arrived.
Climate change rallies across Christchurch have been evacuated and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has canceled all her events for the day, the Guardian has reported
Sky News has reported that hundreds of people were inside the mosque when a gunman opened fire.
New Zealand Police have released the following statement:
A serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter.
Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high.
Police recommend that residents across Christchurch remain off the streets and indoors until further notice. Christchurch schools will be locked down until further notice.
Police thanks the public for their cooperation and will provide further updates to keep residents informed.
Members of the Bangladesh cricket team were reportedly at the mosque for morning prayers
Police are responding to reports of shots being fired in central Christchurch, New Zealand
In a statement, Christchurch police said armed officers had been deployed.
“Police urge anyone in central Christchurch to stay indoors and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to 111.”
The New Zealand Herald has reported the incident occurred at the Al Noor mosque and that there were reports of casualties.