CHRISTCHURCH – A gunman opened fire at two mosques in New Zealand on Friday, killing at least 49 people, and police have since said that four suspects — three men and one woman — have been brought into custody.
“This is and will be one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said earlier, giving the number of dead at a later briefing after meeting with intelligence officials.
Forty-eight patients with gunshots are getting treated at Christchurch Hospital in the wake of the attack. The country is now at its highest security threat level.
A video widely circulated on social media shows a live stream where a man driving to a mosque and opening fire inside, grabbing another weapon from his car and then driving to a new location.
The shooter plays music and makes casual comments about the attack on the first mosque, before it is cut off as he drives to a second location, in the stream, which has been seen by The Guelph Post.
This black-clad caucasian man was identified by journalist Matthew Keys as Brenton Tarrant, aged 28, who appeared to publish a manifesto previous to the shooting that outlines his choice of location and beliefs.
The last mass casualty shooting in New Zealand was in 1990.
The Bangladesh cricket team was arriving for Friday prayer when the shooting took place but all members are safe, a team coach told Reuters news agency.
There initially was a city-wide lockdown that kept children in schools for some three hours before it was lifted. However, police have asked that no one visit mosques “for any reason” indefinitely.“My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques,” U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Friday morning. “The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”
Image from social media.