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Christchurch shooting: 40 dead in terrorist attack at two mosques – live updates Christchurch shooting: 49 dead in terrorist attack at two mosques – live updates
(32 minutes later)
Here’s more of transcript of the press conference via the Australian TV transcription site TVeeder.
Q: Are you in search of any other suspect?
We never assume that there aren’t other people involved. That’s why we’ve got immense presence out there across Canterbury and right across New Zealand, but we don’t have named or identified people that we’re looking for, but it would be wrong to assume that there is no-one else.
Q: So you’re not actively looking for any other shooter at this stage?
At this point, we are not actively looking for any identified persons.
Q: How many day, weeks, month, in the planning do you think this attack was?
I couldn’t tell you, but I think - I don’t need to tell you, this is a very well-planned event.
Q: Was explosives on the body of one of the attackers?
So I’m aware of that commentary as well. What I can say is that that person may have suggested that. We have eliminated that as a possibility. There was not - we’ve also talked about IED devices on two vehicles. I would like to clarify that and say that there were possibly two IDs on one vehicle and we’ve disabled one and we’re in the process of disabling the other, with the assistance of the Defence Force deaf.
Q: Do controlled explosions have anything to do with this investigation?
We believe not, but of course there is a real heightened sense out there in the communities.
People are being very vigilant and I congratulate them and we’ve dealt with that. Two bags that have left, they have been detonated and we don’t believe they are any further threat.
Q: Are you concerned that this event could be coordinated - there could be other events coming?
We don’t have any information to that extent, but it’s always important to take preventative precautions and that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Q: Was Christchurch Hospital targeted?
No, I think there was some early reporting of that, but it was confused with the fact that 40 people were taken there very quickly for emergency medical treatment, and it was not targeted.
Q: Obviously mosques are closed and synagogues should close, is that true?
I’m not aware that have advice, but we’re giving everyone advice to be very vigilant and take care of yourselves and report anything that you might find suspicious so we can respond immediately.
Q: Were police aware that there was a suggestion that an ta tack could have been planned for StPatrick’s Day?
I don’t have any intelligence to that effect.
Q: How many police are currently in Christchurch?
Well, they have a force of over 1,000.
Here’s a partial transcript of the Q&A with reporters.
Q: Why were these people not on a security watch list? Were they completely unknown to police?
That’s a very good question. What I want to tell you is that no agency had any information about these people, and I can also tell you that I’ve been in contact with my Australian colleagues - they have no information on them at all either. And they are assisting with our inquiries. But I can also add that part of our investigation will be to look back at every possibility to ensure that we, in law enforcement and security, didn’t miss any opportunities to prevent this horrendous event.
Q: Who carried out the shootings at Deans Avenue mosque? Was it the same person who carried out the shootings at Linwood?
Look, I would love to go into detail, but a person has been charged. For me to now go into details of who did what would not be proper.
Again, I know there is a name within the public domain, but it would be improper for me now to confirm that because a person has been charged.
Q: There was a threat on Facebook - on a Facebook page made towards the Islamic community. Are you aware that, that police had an early warning of this attack?
I’m aware of that suggestion which we’re working through at the moment. When I have absolute clarity about that, I will be sharing that.
Here’s a transcript of Bush’s opening statement:
At the Deans Avenue mosque, we now know that 41 people have lost their lives. And at the Linwood mosque, 7 have lost their lives. Of the 40 people who have been treated at Christchurch Hospital, one has now passed. So the total number of people who have died in thishorrendous event are 49.
And our hearts go out to them and all of their families, all of their friends, all of their loved ones, and I want to assure everyone that we will do our best for them
I would like to also add that so far one person, a male in his late 20s, has been charged with murder, and should appear in the Christchurch Court tomorrow morning.
Three other people were apprehended. We believe one of those persons who was armed and was at the scene may have had nothing to do with this incident, and the two other people that have been apprehended, again in possession of firearms in the general environment, we are working through to understand what their involvement is.
We have recovered a number of firearms from both of the scenes, Linwood Avenue and Deans Avenue.
I would like to assure everyone around New Zealand that every available police and emergency resource with our other government agencies and Defence Force are doing everything they can to keep our communities safe.
We have had no other threats since we responded to this incident. We are working with a wide range of community to give support to everyone who needs it.
We have staff around the country ensuring that everyone is kept safe and that includes our armed defenders and special tactics groups right across the country being very vigilant and having a presence around all of our mosques, to ensure nothing further occurs. As I said, this is an evolving situation.
We will continue to bring you as much information as we possibly can. I will answer your questions in a minute if I can, but before I do, I would like to communicate the 0800 number for people to call for more information, especially around their loved ones, and that number is 0800115019.
I would also like to commend - and some of you would have seen the brave actions on social media of police staff who responded to this incident - they have gone above and beyond their communities to apprehend at least one of these offenders. So I take my hat off to all of my staff.
I’m extremely proud of what they have done to date. Thank you.
Bush refuses to name the suspected attacker. He said as the individual had been charged it would not be proper to confirm the name.
New Zealand’s police commissioner, Mike Bush, says the number of people killed has increased to 49 after one of the victims died in hospital.
A man has been charged with murder and will appear in court tomorrow.
One of those arrested may have had nothing to do with the attack, Bush said. The two other people arrested in possession of firearms are still being investigated.
Before the shooting starting, the Al Noor mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch was “peaceful, calm and quiet”.
“As it is when the sermon starts, you could hear a pin drop,” a man identified as Ramzan told reporters on Friday.
Then about 1.40pm during afternoon prayers, gunfire broke out.
“It started in the main room ... I was in the side room, so I didn’t see who was shooting but I saw that some people were running out to my room where I was in, I saw some people had blood on their body and some people were limping,” Ramzan told reporters.
“It was at the moment I realised things were really serious.”
Forty people have been confirmed dead after shootings at two mosques Christchurch on Friday. Three suspects – including at least one Australian – are in custody and multiple explosive devices have been found attached to cars in the city.
Witnesses describe Christchurch attack: 'I saw people drop dead'
Theresa May has expressed her condolences.Theresa May has expressed her condolences.
"On behalf of the UK, my deepest condolences to the people of New Zealand after the horrifying terrorist attack in Christchurch. My thoughts are with all of those affected by this sickening act of violence." - PM @theresa_may"On behalf of the UK, my deepest condolences to the people of New Zealand after the horrifying terrorist attack in Christchurch. My thoughts are with all of those affected by this sickening act of violence." - PM @theresa_may
Police in New South Wales say there has been no specific threat to any mosque in Sydney or elsewhere in the state. In a statement it added:Police in New South Wales say there has been no specific threat to any mosque in Sydney or elsewhere in the state. In a statement it added:
Police have increased patrols and senior officers have also reached out to community and religious leaders across the state to provide support and reassurance.Police have increased patrols and senior officers have also reached out to community and religious leaders across the state to provide support and reassurance.
NSW Police Force will continue to do everything possible to ensure the safety and security of all members of the community and everyone should continue to go about their business without fear.NSW Police Force will continue to do everything possible to ensure the safety and security of all members of the community and everyone should continue to go about their business without fear.
Christchurch hospital is treating 48 people, including young children, for gunshot wounds, according to David Meates, Chief Executive, Canterbury District Health Board.Christchurch hospital is treating 48 people, including young children, for gunshot wounds, according to David Meates, Chief Executive, Canterbury District Health Board.
In a statement he said injuries range from critical to minor.In a statement he said injuries range from critical to minor.
It said:It said:
Twelve operating theatres are currently in use and due to the nature of some of the injuries, many people will need multiple surgeries. There is sufficient capacity and staff at Christchurch Hospital and the police cordon has been lifted from the site, so people who need emergency health care can now attend the Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department.Twelve operating theatres are currently in use and due to the nature of some of the injuries, many people will need multiple surgeries. There is sufficient capacity and staff at Christchurch Hospital and the police cordon has been lifted from the site, so people who need emergency health care can now attend the Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department.
We have asked for some national services, which are usually provided in Christchurch, to be diverted to other centres e.g spinal cord injury service. We are grateful for the offers of support from other DHBs and from our staff who have offered to work longer shifts, with many volunteering to come in and help.We have asked for some national services, which are usually provided in Christchurch, to be diverted to other centres e.g spinal cord injury service. We are grateful for the offers of support from other DHBs and from our staff who have offered to work longer shifts, with many volunteering to come in and help.
Around 200 family members are on site awaiting news of their loved ones. Together with police we are providing support to these people.Around 200 family members are on site awaiting news of their loved ones. Together with police we are providing support to these people.
Unless it’s essential, we ask that people don’t come to visit patients Christchurch Hospital, as we are trying to reduce the numbers of people on the hospital site.Unless it’s essential, we ask that people don’t come to visit patients Christchurch Hospital, as we are trying to reduce the numbers of people on the hospital site.
We have representatives from the mosque and the Muslim community with us, and interpreters to assist with communications.We have representatives from the mosque and the Muslim community with us, and interpreters to assist with communications.
Women due to give birth have been contacted by the maternity team to advise them they should go to one of our community maternity units unless they need hospital level care. Lead Maternity Carers and midwives have been informed of this.Women due to give birth have been contacted by the maternity team to advise them they should go to one of our community maternity units unless they need hospital level care. Lead Maternity Carers and midwives have been informed of this.
Once we have provided for the medical needs of those injured, and the wellbeing of their families and whanau, we will be able to focus on the psychosocial wellbeing of our wider Canterbury community.Once we have provided for the medical needs of those injured, and the wellbeing of their families and whanau, we will be able to focus on the psychosocial wellbeing of our wider Canterbury community.
We envisage we will see an increasing demand for wellbeing support over the coming days and weeks as the reality and enormity of what has happened in our city today sinks in.We envisage we will see an increasing demand for wellbeing support over the coming days and weeks as the reality and enormity of what has happened in our city today sinks in.
New Zealand police commissioner, Mike Bush, is due to give another update in about 30 minutes at 9pm local time.New Zealand police commissioner, Mike Bush, is due to give another update in about 30 minutes at 9pm local time.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush will speak to media at 9pm this evening to provide an update on the serious firearms incident in Christchurch. Media are asked to gather at the Royal Society, Turnbull Street, Thorndon, Wellington.Police Commissioner Mike Bush will speak to media at 9pm this evening to provide an update on the serious firearms incident in Christchurch. Media are asked to gather at the Royal Society, Turnbull Street, Thorndon, Wellington.
Forty people been killed and 20 injured in a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, which occurred during afternoon prayers.Forty people been killed and 20 injured in a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, which occurred during afternoon prayers.
Three people – one of them an Australian-born man – are in custody.Three people – one of them an Australian-born man – are in custody.
It was described as “a terrorist attack” by NZ prime minister Jacinda Ardern, and an “extremist, right-wing violent terrorist [attack]” by Australian prime minister Scott Morrison.It was described as “a terrorist attack” by NZ prime minister Jacinda Ardern, and an “extremist, right-wing violent terrorist [attack]” by Australian prime minister Scott Morrison.
Christchurch remains on lockdown.Christchurch remains on lockdown.
Ardern said: “Many directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here...They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”Ardern said: “Many directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here...They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”
The attacker is believed to have livestreamed at least one of the attacks. Police urged people not to share the “distressing” footage, which many Australian news outlets ignored.The attacker is believed to have livestreamed at least one of the attacks. Police urged people not to share the “distressing” footage, which many Australian news outlets ignored.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK said they were not aware of any Britons caught up in the attack, writes Nadeem Badshah.The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK said they were not aware of any Britons caught up in the attack, writes Nadeem Badshah.
A spokesman said no Britons have come to our attention.A spokesman said no Britons have come to our attention.
Flags will be at half-mast in Australia today, and buildings in Melbourne will be lit up in tribute, according to the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews.Flags will be at half-mast in Australia today, and buildings in Melbourne will be lit up in tribute, according to the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews.
Out of respect and in condolence for all those killed in the terrorist attack in New Zealand, I have asked for flags to be flown at half-mast. pic.twitter.com/0qgIrmdgoHOut of respect and in condolence for all those killed in the terrorist attack in New Zealand, I have asked for flags to be flown at half-mast. pic.twitter.com/0qgIrmdgoH
Melbourne's buildings will be lit up in New Zealand colours tonight in solidarity, and flags will be flown at half-mast tomorrow as a sign of respect.Melbourne's buildings will be lit up in New Zealand colours tonight in solidarity, and flags will be flown at half-mast tomorrow as a sign of respect.
The UK foreign minister, Jeremy Hunt, also issued a message:The UK foreign minister, Jeremy Hunt, also issued a message:
Our hearts go out to the people of New Zealand following the news of this terrible act in Christchurch. NZ is one of the most peaceful, peace-loving and generous nations in the world. Your friends in the UK stand with you today in deepest sympathy.Our hearts go out to the people of New Zealand following the news of this terrible act in Christchurch. NZ is one of the most peaceful, peace-loving and generous nations in the world. Your friends in the UK stand with you today in deepest sympathy.
Another update from that earlier Ardern press conference – the number of people in custody is currently three. Earlier in the day, police said they had four people in custody. There was no further information provided as to why that number changed.
New Zealand police have conducted a controlled detonation at Auckland’s largest train station, the Britomart Transport Centre.
The bomb squad attended the station 40 minutes ago, and cordoned off the area. Just minutes ago an explosion was heard. Authorities told local media it was a controlled detonation.
New Zealanders are beginning to arrive with flowers and tributes as dusk falls on Christchurch.
“New Zealand is with you,” said a woman who dropped off lillies. “New Zealand stands by you”.
Hassan, 29, lives behind the mosque on Dale street and was at the Linwood mosque when the shooting began. Hassan heard shooting in the mosque and women screaming “don’t come here” at the shooters. Police came within 5 to 10 minutes.
The shooter was screaming, waving the gun around wildly and firing it in every direction. He then left the mosque. Hassan is from Sri Lanka and has lived in New Zealand for 6 months. He came to New Zealand for work and opportunities.
“I thought New Zealand was a safe, peaceful country for everyone. I came here because I knew there were no wars. Police told me ‘I am sorry, this is the first time this has ever in this country.’ I don’t know who is dead or alive. I am waiting.”
New Zealand’s threat level has been raised from low to high, Ardern confirms.
Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, has issued a statement:
Shocked and strongly condemn the Christchurch, New Zealand, terrorist attack on mosques. This reaffirms what we have always maintained: that terrorism does not have a religion. Prayers go to the victims and their families.
And the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan:
I strongly condemn the terror attack against the Al Noor Mosque in #NewZealand and Muslim worshippers. May Allah have mercy on the victims and grant a speedy recovery to the wounded.
“This is not who we are. This act was not a reflection of who we are as a nation,” Ardern says. “It will take time to heal and tonight our thoughts and our prayers need to be with those affected.”
Of the confirmed 40 people killed, 30 were killed at Al Noor mosque and 10 killed at Linwood mosque. That 10 figure includes three people who were outside Linwood Avenue mosque at the time.
Ardern says none of the suspects were on security or terrorism watchlists.
Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand was “chosen for this act of violence” because it is an example of multiculturalism, diversity and acceptance.
“We New Zealanders were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone this racism, or because we are an enclave of extremism, we were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things,” she said.
“I want to send a message to those directly affected...For many this may have not been the place they were born. For many New Zealand was their choice, a place they actively came to and committed themselves to...it was a place where many came to for their safety. A place where it was safe to practice their culture and religion.
“We represent diversity and compassion, a home for those who share our values, a refuge for those who need it. And those values will not and can not be shaken by this attack. We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities and 160 languages.”
She issues “the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this”.
“You may have chosen us but we utterly reject and condemn you.”