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Christchurch shooting: multiple fatalities after mass shooting at two mosques – live updates Christchurch shooting: multiple fatalities after mass shooting at two mosques – live updates
(32 minutes later)
Our reporter, Melissa Davey, is in New Zealand en route to Christchurch. The taxi driver driving her to the airport says he is shocked and believed the shootings were hate crimes. Australians are appalled by the horrific shooting in Christchurch. Targeting people in a place of worship is abhorrent and an affront to all. My thoughts are with the victims and their families.
“There’s been shootings in New Zealand but never racist based like this that I can remember. We rarely have shootings like that. I think it’s bloody awful. I mean it’s pretty pointed going into a mosque isn’t it? Police did not confirm how many people were killed in the attacks. We are still waiting for official confirmation of the death toll, though Jacinda Ardern said that there were a number and today would go down as one of New Zealand’s “darkest days”.
“I can only talk in my experience but Christchurch is a very conservative Protestant city and it does have a violent past. So it doesn’t surprise me if it did happen, it happened it Christchurch. You do get white boys, the white power gangs there still. Not so much skinheads anymore. But in with that sort. I wouldn’t say New Zealand as a whole is racist.” Bush says police are not assuming the violence is confined to Christchurch, but say they have no reason to believe there may be attacks in other countries. He warns that they can’t be too careful.
And as we see in that last tweet, the police press conference has been pushed back by half a hour, to 5:30pm local time. Bush says that he can confirm there were a number of IEDs attached to cars that have been made safe now.
Schools remain in lockdown “This speaks to the seriousness of what occurred,” said Bush.
Police have advised that schools in the city remain in lockdown, there is no timeframe for when that will be lifted. Police have encouraged parents not to go to the schools to try and collect their children, saying they are being looked after by their schools. Attackers were apprehended by local police, and Bush says he is “absolutely proud” of the officers who were involved.
1/4 Due to the ongoing serious firearms incident in Central Christchurch Police would like to remind all parents and caregivers that schools across the city remain in lock down.There is no timeframe at this stage for when the lock down will be lifted. The children are being... Mike Bush has confirmed that four people are in custody, but that things are moving very quickly.
2/4 taken care of by schools. On advice from Police, schools will communicate directly with parents when the lock down is lifted.The safety of the community is our priority. He will not confirm if it is a terrorist attack, but says “it does not get more serious than this”.
3/4 We will provide updates on the incident as and when they are available and you can get these on our Facebook (link is external) page and website. Bush says this is “absolutely tragic and there will be so many people affected”. He says they will set up a facility so that families of the victims that can get the information they need, but they don’t have the identities of the victims yet, due to the lockdown.
4/4 Media please note the stand up with Commissioner Mike Bush has been pushed back to 5.30pm. This will be held at the Royal Society on Turnbull Street, Thorndon, Wellington. New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush is speaking now.
We’re expecting the police to hold a news conference any moment now. The mayor of Christchurch Lianne Dalziel is speaking to ABC news at the moment.
Police may confirm the number of casualties at this press conference. While some news outlets are reporting figures, police have so far not officially confirmed the number of those dead and injured. This has been a shock, a shock to a city that has been through so much already. I’m shocked beyond words. I cannot think of the right words to say.
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. The police are doing absolutely everything they can... and they are seeking to get the matter under control and as soon as they are in a position to get the situation under control, we will end the lockdown of our facilities.
The Bangladesh cricket team “just escaped” after shots were fired at a Christchurch mosque close to where the team was due to play the final Test match of their tour of New Zealand. This has come as a bolt from the blue... It just feels like it’s not what would happen in a place like New Zealand.
Police confirmed there were multiple fatalities after shootings at two mosques in the city on Friday. Deputy prime minister of New Zealand Winston Peters has tweeted it is “an awfully, awfully sad day”.
All team members and staff caught up in the incident were able to return safely to their hotel, Bangladesh Cricket confirmed, after taking refuge in the immediate aftermath in the dressing rooms at Hagley Oval. This is an awfully, awfully, sad day for New Zealand. There are lessons here from which we must all learn.
Opening batsman Tamim Iqbal, Bangladesh’s highest run scorer, said he and his teammates were able to flee the scene. He described the experience as “frightening”. Co-leader of the New Zealand Greens, James Shaw, who was in the news yesterday after he was the victim of a physical attack at the Botanic Gardens in Wellington, has tweeted about the shootings, which he calls “horrendous”.
Bangladesh have been touring New Zealand since last month. This is horrendous. My thoughts are with the Muslim community and the people of Christchurch. https://t.co/3wnZMwMeqp
Full story here. A reminder of what’s going on at the moment.
Bangladesh cricket team escaped Christchurch mosque shooting Jacinda Ardern has flown to Wellington for a crisis meeting of national security agencies. She has said she will do another press conference after that meeting.
Australia and New Zealand are family and we grieve with our brothers and sisters today. We send our love and condolences, our sorrow and solidarity in this terrible time of fear and pain and grief. We are also waiting for an official briefing from the police at 5:30pm local time (about 10 minutes) in which we should get more information.
Witness accounts from inside the mosque are starting to emerge. About 1:40pm, a gunman entered the Masjid Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and opened fire. Central Christchurch is still under lockdown, including schools, and people have been warned not to leave their homes, and for parents not to try to retrieve their children from school, they will be looked after by teachers and staff.
Mohan Ibrahim was inside the mosque when the shooting began. He told the New Zealand Herald he thought it was an electric shock “but then all these people started running”.“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.”Ahmad Al-Mahmoud described seeing the man “coming through and shooting everyone in the mosque. Police have also warned people across the entire country not to go to any mosques until police tell them it is safe, saying: “Close your doors”.
“We’re trying to get everyone to run from the area because we couldn’t get everyone out throught the door,” he told Stuff.co.
He said he jumped over the back fence of the mosque to escape.
“I haven’t seen the guy correctly but he was wearing helmet and these things,” he said.
“[There was] at least over 50 bullets ... [it was] quite fast ... could be more than hundreds.”Another man, Carl Pomare, was one of the first people on the scene.Pomare told the Herald he was driving opposite the mosque at 1.40pm and saw “a whole lot of people outside the mosque entrance on the footpath and the next thing, we saw them run”.Pomare said he heard shots going off at rapid fire and saw people hitting the ground.
There have been multiple fatalities after the shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch during Friday afternoon prayers. A car with explosives inside was intercepted by police nearby
One suspect is in custody but police warned they were still tracing an active shooter. Police commissioner Mike Bush said: “Close your doors until you hear from us again.”
The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said it was “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”, calling the attacks “an unprecedented act of violence”.
The city has been placed in lockdown, with schools and public buildings closed. People taking part in nearby climate change protests were evacuated and council staff have been looking after children separated from their relatives in the chaos.
Ardern spoke of the attacker’s motivation, saying the victims might include refugees and migrants. “They are us,” she said, before saying the perpetrator “has no place in New Zealand”.
Witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the mosque – believed to have hundreds of people inside – and then heard dozens of shots. He said he also saw the gunman flee before emergency services arrived
Whilst I cannot give any confirmation at this stage around fatalities and casualties, what I can say is that it is clear that this is one of New Zealand’s darkest days.
Clearly, what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.
Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here. 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. They have no place in New Zealand. There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence, which it is clear this act was.
For now, my thoughts, and I’m sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders, are with those who have been affected, and also with their families.
My thoughts also to those in Christchurch, who are still dealing with an unfolding situation. The advice from police continues to be that people remain indoors. I acknowledge that that may mean that some families are separated, but please continue to listen out for information as it comes to light that’s been directly provided by the New Zealand Police with further information.
But as I say, please remain in lockdown. We are potentially still dealing with an evolving situation. And again, as I say, across multiple sites. Please be assured, though, the police are actively managing the situation. Christchurch Hospital is dedicated to treating those who are arriving at the hospital as we speak as well.
As soon as I leave here, I will be returning directly on a flight to Wellington. Agencies are already convening in Wellington. I will be looking to meet with them as soon as I land. It’s my expectation that once I arrive and have been briefed, I intend to speak again publicly after that point. I’m happy to take questions.”
'One of New Zealand's darkest days': Jacinda Ardern responds to Christchurch shooting
Police commissioner Mike Bush has warned: “No one in the country must go to a mosque under any circumstances.”
Series of updates from the New Zealand police, which includes confirmation of multiple fatalities and the fact this is an ongoing situation.
Police will address media at 5pm local time (in about 40 minutes).
1/5 Police is responding to a very serious and tragic incident involving an active shooter in central Christchurch. One person is in custody, however Police believe there may be other offenders.... This is an evolving incident and we are working to confirm the facts...
2/5 however we can confirm there have been a number of fatalities. Police is currently at a number of scenes. We understand that there will be many anxious people but I can assure New Zealanders that Police is doing all it can to resolve this incident.
3/5 We urge New Zealanders to stay vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to 111. We are mobilising resources nationally and support is being brought into the District. We are still working to resolve this incident and we continue to urge Christchurch...
4/5 ...residents to stay inside. We ask all mosques nationally to shut their doors, and advise that people refrain from visiting these premises until further notice.
5/5 There will be a media stand-up at 5pm today at the Royal Society Te Aparangi on Turnbull Street, Thorndon, Wellington.
I'm horrified by the reports I’m following of the serious shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. The situation is still unfolding but our thoughts and prayers are with our Kiwi cousins.
Ardern is asked if she would describe this attack as a hate crime, she says: “I would describe it as an unprecedented act of violence.”
She says of the people who were attacked, “New Zealand is their home, they should have felt safe here.”
She said that those who were in attendance at a mosque should have the right to be exercising their religious freedom, but they were not safe. Ardern says actions like this have “no place in New Zealand”.
After the press conference Ardern is flying to Wellington, where officials are convening.
She says one person is in custody, but that police are still advising people to remain indoors and there may be other people involved.
Ardern says she cannot confirm precise details, including the number of casualties.
“I’m not currently in a position to confirm casualties or injuries.” But she says it is clear so far “this is a significant event”.
“It will be one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”