Mass murder in Christchurch mosques: four people in custody
Dozens are dead following a shooting at a mosque in the NZ city. The prime minister has called it ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days’.
This report is being updated to reflect developments
Four people now in custody, three men and one woman
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has confirmed one of those in custody is an Australian citizen
Shootings occurred at two mosques in Christchurch, one at Deans Ave and one at Linwood Ave
“Significant” number of fatalities confirmed by NZ Police, who are “not assuming this is contained to Christchurch”
Police say a number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were found in vehicles
Prime minister condemns ‘unprecedented act of violence’
“Risk environment remains extremely high”, warn Police
The lockdown on schools has now been lifted. Police are reassuring that a large Police presence remains in the city, and that “the safety of the community is our priority.”
Christchurch Hospital and council buildings in the city in lockdown until further notice.
Mosques nationwide advised to shut doors until further notice
All flights from Dunedin to Christchurch have been cancelled.
An apparent mass murder in Christchurch this afternoon was streamed live on Facebook, with use of a GoPro. The man’s Facebook account is no longer available.
The Spinoff has established that in an online post on a forum separate from Facebook, left minutes before the attack on a mosque near Hagley Park began, a man said it was time to “stop shitposting” and “carry out an attack against the invaders”.
The man begins by saying, “let’s get this party started”. In a separate “manifesto” posted online, the man describes himself as a “white man” in his late 20s, born in Australia. The document contains dozens of pages filled with violent, racist language.
The Spinoff has decided not to name the man or the site.
Mia Garlick of Facebook New Zealand has responded with the following statement:
“New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video. We’re also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware. We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continues. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by this horrendous act. ”
Some media outlets have published portions of the live-streamed video footage. At 4.50pm, NZ Police tweeted that they were trying to have any footage removed and urged people not to share it:
Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online. We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed.
— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) March 15, 2019
Police have confirmed numerous fatalities, and that the situation remains active.
An eyewitness inside the mosque
TOLD RNZ he heard shots fired and “there was blood everywhere”. Another eyewitness told RNZ a man wearing a helmet and glasses and a military style jacket opened fire inside the mosque. He said a woman and child were among the injured and the offender had an automatic weapon.
At 5.30pm, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said that four people were in custody, three men and one women. The shootings occurred at two mosques, one on Deans Ave and one on Linwood Ave, and a number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were found in vehicles. Bush said: “We are not assuming this is contained to Christchurch. We have no other information to suggest [there are wider risks] but at this point in time we should never make assumptions.”
The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, called it “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.
She said: “Clearly what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence … Please be assured that Police are actively monitoring the situation.”
She said it was “an act that has absolutely no place in New Zealand. This is not who we are … The people who were the subject of this attack, this is their home, they should be safe here.”
Commissioner Bush said: “This is an evolving incident, and we are working to confirm the facts, however we can confirm there have been a number of fatalities.”
He said police are doing all they can to resolve the incident, and urged people to stay vigilant and report and suspicious behaviour.
Extra support is being brought into Christchurch from other parts of the country.
Commissioner Bush also asked mosques nationwide to shut their doors, and asked people in the area to refrain from visiting mosques until further notice.
Following a number of incidents in which violent murders and other graphic content were broadcast on Facebook Live, in May 2017 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company would increase the size of its staff that reviewed flagged content by 66%, adding 3000 people to its 4500-strong community operations team around the world.
“Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen people hurting themselves and others on Facebook — either live or in video posted later,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post at the time.
“If we’re going to build a safe community, we need to respond quickly. We’re working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner — whether that’s responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down.”
From: The Spinoff News
New Update: Death toll now 49, according to a New tweet by CNN.
Please follow the hash tag #NewZealand #ChristChurch to know more.
More update: The shooter is believed to be Australian man Brenton Tarrant, 28