Mass Shootings at 2 New Zealand Mosques Kill 49 People
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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
At least 49 people were killed and 48 others were injured in a mass shooting at two Christchurch, New Zealand, mosques during Friday noontime prayers. According to the New Zealand Herald, it was the "worst toll of any terrorist attack in Australia or New Zealand."
Forty-one worshippers, including some children, died at the Al Noor mosque near Christchurch’s Hagley Park. Seven others died at a mosque in the Linwood area.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the attacks "one of New Zealand's darkest days."
Alleged Gunman Arrested by Christchurch Police
Christchurch police captured and identified the alleged shooter as Brenton Tarrant, a white, 28-year-old native Australian, the newspaper said. Tarrant was charged with murder and will appear in court Saturday morning local time. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called Tarrant "an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist."
As of late Friday local time, Tarrant and three other people, including one woman, had been arrested in connection with the shootings. Witness Syed Mazharuddin told local media that an armed guard at the Al-Noor mosque tackled the gunman and took away his weapon. The shooter then fled on foot and was later arrested by police.
Alleged Gunman Shot Live-Stream Facebook Video for Social Media Sites
Prior to the attack, an unknown person put up a post on an alt-right message board. The post contained links to the suspect’s Facebook page. According to BBC News, Facebook users saw the attack live. The video was shared on other social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitter, which acted swiftly to remove the video from their sites.
Christchurch Schools Placed on Lockdown
“In response to a serious ongoing firearms incident in Christchurch, all Christchurch schools have been placed into lockdown,” New Zealand police wrote on Twitter. “Police urge anyone in central Christchurch to stay off the streets and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to 111.”