New Zealand Mosque shootings kill 49
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — The Latest on shootings at mosques in New Zealand (all times local):
At least 49 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers in an attack broadcast in horrifying, live video by an immigrant-hating white nationalist wielding at least two rifles.
One man was arrested and charged with murder, and two other armed suspects were taken into custody while police tried to determine what role they played.
"It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, noting that many of the victims could be migrants or refugees.
She pronounced it "one of New Zealand's darkest days."
The attack shocked people across the nation of 5 million people, a country that has relatively loose gun laws but is so peaceful even police officers rarely carry firearms.
The gunman behind at least one of the mosque shootings left a 74-page manifesto that he posted on social media under the name Brenton Tarrant, identifying himself as a 28-year-old Australian and white nationalist who was out to avenge attacks in Europe perpetrated by Muslims.
Using what may have been a helmet camera, he livestreamed to the world in graphic detail his assault on worshippers at Christchurch's Al Noor Mosque, where at least 41 people were killed. An attack on a second mosque in the city not long after killed several more.
Police did not identify those taken into custody and gave no details except to say that none of them had been on any watch list. They did not immediately say whether the same person was responsible for both shootings.
At least 48 people, some in critical condition, were being treated at Christchurch Hospital for gunshot wounds, authorities said.
While there was no reason to believe there were any more suspects, the prime minister said the national threat level was raised from low to high. Police warned Muslims against going to a mosque anywhere in New Zealand. And Air New Zealand canceled several flights in and out of Christchurch, saying it couldn't properly screen customers and baggage.
Police said the investigation extended 360 kilometers (240 miles) to the south, where homes in Dunedin were evacuated around a "location of interest." They gave no details.
Ardern alluded to anti-immigrant sentiment as the possible motive, saying that immigrants and refugees "have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us."
As for the suspects, the prime minister said, "these are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand."
Witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the Al Noor mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running out in terror.
Peneha, who lives next door, said the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon in his driveway and fled. He said he then went into the mosque to try to help the victims.
"I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque," he said. "I don't understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It's ridiculous."
He added: "I've lived next door to this mosque for about five years and the people are great, they're very friendly. I just don't understand it."
He said the gunman was wearing a helmet with some kind of device on top, giving him a military-type appearance.
In the video that was apparently livestreamed, the gunman spends more than two minutes inside the mosque spraying terrified worshippers with bullets again and again, sometimes firing at people he has already cut down.
He then walks outside, where he shoots at people on the sidewalk. Children's screams can be heard in the distance as he returns to his car to get another rifle. The gunman then walks back into the mosque, where there are at least two dozen people lying on the ground.
After going back outside and shooting a woman there, he gets back in his car, where the song "Fire" by the English rock band The Crazy World of Arthur Brown can be heard blasting. The singer bellows, "I am the god of hellfire!" and the gunman drives away.
The second attack took place at the Linwood mosque about 5 kilometers (3 miles) away.
Mark Nichols told the New Zealand Herald that he heard about five gunshots and that a prayer-goer returned fire with a rifle or shotgun. Nichols said he saw two wounded people being carried out on stretchers past his automotive shop.
The man who claimed responsibility for the Al Noor shooting said he was not a member of any organization, acted alone and chose New Zealand to show that even the most remote parts of the world were not free of "mass immigration."
New Zealand is generally considered a welcoming country for migrants and refugees.
Last year, the prime minister announced the country would boost its annual refugee quota from 1,000 to 1,500 starting in 2020. Ardern, whose party campaigned on a promise to take in more refugees, called the increase "the right thing to do."
Christchurch is home to nearly 400,000 people and is sometimes called the Garden City. It has been rebuilding since an earthquake in 2011 killed 185 people and destroyed many downtown buildings.
Before Friday's attack, New Zealand's deadliest shooting in modern history took place in the small town of Aramoana in 1990, when a gunman killed 13 people following a dispute with a neighbor.
Perry reported from Wellington. Associated Press writers Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, and Chris Blake in Bangkok contributed to this report.
Pakistan's foreign ministry says four Pakistanis were wounded in mass shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal tweeted that five other Pakistani citizens are missing after Friday's attacks.
He said Pakistani diplomats in New Zealand are in contact with local authorities.
Separately, the ministry said Pakistan views the attacks as an "assault on the values of freedom of conscience and association common to all mankind."
It asked New Zealand to take immediate action to bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure the safety of the Muslim community.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says at least three Turkish citizens were injured in attacks on Muslim worshippers in New Zealand and that he has spoken to one of them.
Addressing an election rally on Friday, Erdogan described a suspect in the attacks as "impertinent, immoral, vile and scum" and said he had chosen innocent worshippers as an easy target.
He told the crowd: "As Muslims, we will never bow our heads, but we will never fall to the level of these vile people."
New Zealand authorities have arrested and charged a man with murder in what appeared to be a carefully planned racist attack. At least 49 people died.
Dozens of demonstrators protested the shootings after Friday prayers in Istanbul.
Indonesia's foreign ministry says two Indonesians, a father and his son, were injured in mass shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir says the father is in intensive care and his son is being treated at the same hospital. He declined to identify them.
The man's wife, Alta Marie, said on Facebook that her husband, Zulfirman Syah, and their son are being treated at Christchurch Hospital.
"My husband was shot in multiple places and has a drain in his lung and has been in surgery," she wrote. "I was recently united with my son, who has a gunshot wound to the leg and backside. He is traumatized."
At least 49 people were killed and 48 others were hospitalized as a result of the attacks Friday.
Bangladesh's honorary consul in Auckland, New Zealand, says three Bangladeshis were killed in Friday's mosque attacks in Christchurch and at least four others were injured.
Shafiqur Rahman Bhuiyan says "so far" three Bangladeshis are among the 49 people killed in the shootings. He said two of the injured Bangladeshis are in critical condition.
He says one person's leg had to be amputated and another has gunshot wounds to his chest.
New Zealand health authorities say a total of 48 people are being treated at Christchurch Hospital for gunshot wounds.
Facebook says it has taken down a video of shootings at a New Zealand mosque and removed the alleged shooter's accounts from its platforms after being alerted by police.
The man who allegedly carried out the shootings in Christchurch on Friday reportedly broadcast 17 minutes of the attack on a Facebook livestream.
Facebook New Zealand spokeswoman Mia Garlick said in a statement that the company is "also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we're aware."
She said the company "will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continues."
Both YouTube owner Google and Twitter also say they're working to remove video of the shootings from their sites.
New Zealand health authorities say 48 people with gunshot wounds are being treated at Christchurch Hospital after mass shootings at two mosques killed 49 people.
The chief executive of the Canterbury District Health Board, David Meates, says the patients range from young children to adults and the injuries range from minor to critical.
Meates says 12 operating theaters are being used and some patients will need multiple surgeries.
He says about 200 family members are at the hospital early Saturday awaiting news about their loved ones.
New Zealand police say their investigation into mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch has extended 360 kilometers (240 miles) to the south where homes have been evacuated around a "location of interest" in Dunedin.
A police statement gave no further detail of how the location might be linked to the attacks in Christchurch that claimed at least 49 lives.
Police say homes around the location in Dunedin have been evacuated as a precaution.
Three people are being held in Christchurch, including one who has been charged with murder, and police say two improvised explosive devises were found in a car.
National carrier Air New Zealand has canceled at least 17 flights in and out of Christchurch, saying it couldn't screen customers and their baggage following deadly shootings at two mosques.
The airline said some smaller planes traveling on regional routes were canceled while larger jet planes would continue landing and taking off due to security screening processes already in place.
Typically, passengers on smaller turboprop aircraft traveling to or from Christchurch don't go through security screening and are able to walk right onto the plane.
Air New Zealand said the safety of its customers and employees was paramount and apologized for the inconvenience.
Police say at least 49 people were killed in the shootings during Friday prayers at the mosques.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush says the death toll has increased to 49 in shootings at two mosques.
Bush told a news conference that a man has been charged with murder and will appear in court tomorrow. He would not say whether the same shooter was responsible for both attacks.
A man who earlier claimed responsibility said he was a 28-year-old Australian and described anti-immigrant motives in a manifesto.
Police earlier said four people had been taken into custody, and one had been identified as Australian. However, Bush didn't mention the other people.
Bush clarified that police had found two improvised explosive devices in one car. He said they had disabled one and were in the process of disabling the second.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the national security threat level has been lifted from low to high after deadly shootings at two mosques.
Forty people were killed in Friday's attack and four people were taken into custody, including one Australian. Ardern said none had been on any terror watch list.
The security threat level is now at the second-highest level. She said authorities had no reason to believe there were more suspects, but "we are not assuming that at this stage."
A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings described anti-immigrant views in a manifesto.
Ardern said, "These are people who I would describe as having extremist views, that have absolutely no place in New Zealand."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the shootings at two mosques in New Zealand appear to have been a well-planned "terrorist attack."
Ardern said 40 people were killed at two mosques in the city of Christchurch and more than 20 seriously injured.
She said earlier Friday that migrants and refugees appeared to be most affected by the shootings.
A man who claimed responsibility for the attack said he was a 28-year-old Australian and described anti-immigrant motives in a manifesto.
Police earlier said four people were taken into custody, and one has been identified as Australian.
Ardern said in a news conference, "It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack. From what we know, it does appear to have been well planned."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says 40 people have been killed in an attack at mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
Four people have been detained, and one is Australian.
Ardern said more than 20 people were seriously injured during the shootings at two mosques during Friday prayers.
Thirty fatalities occurred at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch. Seven of the dead were inside the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque and three died outside the same mosque.
A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings said in a manifesto that he was a 28-year-old white Australian who came to New Zealand only to plan and train for the attack.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that one of the four people taken into custody in New Zealand's mosque shootings is an Australian.
A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings said in a manifesto that he was a 28-year-old white Australian who came to New Zealand only to plan and train for the attack.
New Zealand police said they had arrested four people. Morrison on Friday confirmed one of those who were arrested was an Australian-born citizen. He said Australian authorities were assisting with the investigation.
Morrison said Australians were shocked, appalled and outraged by the attack. He described the gunman as "an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist."
Indonesia's foreign minister says six Indonesians were at the Al Noor Mosque in New Zealand when a shooting occurred and three of them escaped.
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said, "We are looking for three other Indonesian citizens."
Police have described multiple fatalities in shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch and say four people are in custody.
The Indonesian Embassy in Wellington sent a team to Christchurch that is coordinating with New Zealand officials.
The foreign ministry says there are 330 Indonesian citizens in Christchurch, 130 of them students.
It said it strongly condemns the attack. "The government and the people of Indonesia convey deep condolences to the victims and their families."
New Zealand police say they're not aware of other suspects beyond the four who have been arrested after two mosque shootings but they can't be certain.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush did not elaborate on the suspects who are in custody.
The shootings occurred at two mosques in the Christchurch area during Friday afternoon prayers.
A witness described multiple deaths at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch. A witness who heard about five gunshots at the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque said two wounded people were carried out on stretchers.
New Zealand police say they have taken into custody three men and one woman over the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the events Friday afternoon "one of New Zealand's darkest days."
The shootings involved multiple fatalities but authorities have not said how many.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said police have defused a number of improvised explosive devices found on vehicles after the mosque shootings.
A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto in which he explained who he was and his reasoning for his actions. He said he considered it a terrorist attack.
Police have warned people to avoid mosques anywhere in New Zealand following two shootings with multiple fatalities at two mosques in Christchurch.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said anyone thinking of going to a mosque should stay put and close their doors.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a Friday afternoon news conference that one suspect was in custody but "there could be others involved."
A man who lives near the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch said many people were dead there. A witness to a second shooting told New Zealand media he saw two wounded people being transported by rescuers afterward.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says following fatal shootings at two mosques in Christchurch it is "one of New Zealand's darkest days."
Police said there were multiple fatalities and one person was in custody, but no details were immediately available.
Ardern said at a Friday afternoon news conference, "what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence."
She said while many people affected may be migrants or refugees "they have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not."
New Zealand media say a shooting has occurred in a second mosque in the city of Christchurch.
No details were immediately available.
Earlier Friday afternoon, police had urged people to stay indoors as authorities responded to a shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque.
A neighbor described mass casualties inside the mosque and said he saw the gunman flee.
A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
Police have not described the scale of the Friday shooting but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors.
Witness Len Peneha says he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.
He says he also saw the gunman flee before emergency services arrived
Peneha says he went into the mosque to try and help: "I saw dead people everywhere."