What We Know So Far
- Police are responding to reports of a mass shooting a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.
- In a statement, Christchurch police said armed officers had been deployed to the scene and asked residents in the city to remain indoors.
- The gunman appears to have live streamed video of the attack online and left a racist manifesto.
- At least one body could be seen on the ground outside the mosque. A witness told the Associated Press “many people have been killed.”
- Climate change rallies taking place across the city have been evacuated.
The gunman appears to have live-streamed 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 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 Swedish YouTuber who has 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 exact weapons seen in the video. The user also shared links to a manifesto around the time the shooting began.
Over 74 pages, the document outlines the white supremacist motivation of the attack. The writer, who identified himself as a 28-year-old white man born in Australia, quotes the 14 Words, the slogan shared by white supremacists worldwide, then at length bemoans the falling birthrate among white women. He said though 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.
The account frequently posted white nationalist content about “illegal immigrants” and minorities polluting European towns and worsening the fertility rate of white women. The user shared links to several Muslim associations
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern will address the nation at 4pm local time (in around 20 minutes), Sky News has reported.
Several hundred people were at the mosque when 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 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 cancelled 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.
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.