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Christchurch attack: suspect had white supremacist symbols on weapons Christchurch attack: suspect had white supremacist symbols on weapons
(32 minutes later)
The suspected perpetrator of a massacre at two mosques in New Zealand displayed white supremacist symbols during the deadly assault that killed 49 people and triggered heightened security at mosques around the world.The suspected perpetrator of a massacre at two mosques in New Zealand displayed white supremacist symbols during the deadly assault that killed 49 people and triggered heightened security at mosques around the world.
The attack in Christchurch, the worst mass shooting in the nation’s history, shattered the illusion that New Zealand was one of the few countries beyond the reach of global terrorism.The attack in Christchurch, the worst mass shooting in the nation’s history, shattered the illusion that New Zealand was one of the few countries beyond the reach of global terrorism.
The carnage, described by New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, as one of its “darkest days”, prompted prayers and vigils around the world, and revulsion that live footage of the atrocity was allowed to circulate on social media.The carnage, described by New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, as one of its “darkest days”, prompted prayers and vigils around the world, and revulsion that live footage of the atrocity was allowed to circulate on social media.
Christchurch was put on lockdown as the country’s security threat level was raised from low to high. Mosques across New Zealand and in other countries were warned to be vigilant.Christchurch was put on lockdown as the country’s security threat level was raised from low to high. Mosques across New Zealand and in other countries were warned to be vigilant.
In the UK and the US, police stepped up patrols in areas with large Muslim populations and around places of worship in direct response to the attack.In the UK and the US, police stepped up patrols in areas with large Muslim populations and around places of worship in direct response to the attack.
Responding to the attack on Friday, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, warned there was an urgent need to tackle Islamophobia across the world, his spokesman said. Responding to the attack on Friday, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, warned there was an urgent need to tackle Islamophobia across the world.
A man in his late 20s will appear in court in Christchurch on Saturday morning, charged with murder. Police did not name him or two other suspects who were being questioned, but Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian man, identified himself as being behind the attack.A man in his late 20s will appear in court in Christchurch on Saturday morning, charged with murder. Police did not name him or two other suspects who were being questioned, but Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian man, identified himself as being behind the attack.
Some witnesses criticised the emergency services for being slow to respond to the shooting, claiming it took up to 20 minutes for the police to arrive on the scene in the largest city in the country’s South Island.Some witnesses criticised the emergency services for being slow to respond to the shooting, claiming it took up to 20 minutes for the police to arrive on the scene in the largest city in the country’s South Island.
The attack, launched during Friday prayers when both mosques were packed, was livestreamed via a camera strapped to the perpetrator.The attack, launched during Friday prayers when both mosques were packed, was livestreamed via a camera strapped to the perpetrator.
Horrific images of bloodshed and people desperately trying to evade the gunman were copied and shared on social media sites including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, which struggled to remove the footage. Mainstream media organisations were criticised for hosting clips.Horrific images of bloodshed and people desperately trying to evade the gunman were copied and shared on social media sites including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, which struggled to remove the footage. Mainstream media organisations were criticised for hosting clips.
The gunman arrived at Al Noor mosque at 1.40pm, opening fire on about 400 people. He killed 41 people before driving four miles to the Linwood Islamic Centre, where another seven people were shot dead. One of the 48 people injured in the attacks later died in hospital. The gunman arrived at Al Noor mosque at 1.40pm, opening fire on about 400 people. He killed 41 people before driving four miles to the Linwood Islamic Centre, where another seven people were shot dead. One of the 48 people injured in the attacks later died in hospital. A bomb disposal team was called in to dismantle explosive devices found in a stopped car.
How the Christchurch attack unfolded – visual guideHow the Christchurch attack unfolded – visual guide
At Al Noor mosque, Khaled Al-Nobani said a man entered with two rifles, one a “pump-action [gun]”, and “started shooting everyone – young people, old women”.At Al Noor mosque, Khaled Al-Nobani said a man entered with two rifles, one a “pump-action [gun]”, and “started shooting everyone – young people, old women”.
He added: “He shot the first one on the gate, two people in the corridor, and go inside started shooting everyone.” One man was killed in front of his three children, Al-Nobani said.He added: “He shot the first one on the gate, two people in the corridor, and go inside started shooting everyone.” One man was killed in front of his three children, Al-Nobani said.
He claimed police took 20 minutes to arrive. “We are in the middle of the city. The middle of Christchurch. There was no traffic about. You need two-minute [maximum] response.”He claimed police took 20 minutes to arrive. “We are in the middle of the city. The middle of Christchurch. There was no traffic about. You need two-minute [maximum] response.”
Carl Pomare and a colleague were driving past the mosque at the time of the attack. “I saw lots of people running outside the mosque … In the next second there was rapid fire and people were being knocked down like tenpins. I saw them being hit from behind, I saw them falling to the ground,” he told the BBC.Carl Pomare and a colleague were driving past the mosque at the time of the attack. “I saw lots of people running outside the mosque … In the next second there was rapid fire and people were being knocked down like tenpins. I saw them being hit from behind, I saw them falling to the ground,” he told the BBC.
The pair stopped to help the injured. “There were lots of bodies and there was no sirens, no police or ambulance because this had just happened … It was a scene of carnage – we were there for a good 15 or 20 minutes, just civilians, helping these people as much as we could until more support came in,” Pomare added.The pair stopped to help the injured. “There were lots of bodies and there was no sirens, no police or ambulance because this had just happened … It was a scene of carnage – we were there for a good 15 or 20 minutes, just civilians, helping these people as much as we could until more support came in,” Pomare added.
A survivor of the attack at Linwood described how a man tackled the shooter. “The young guy who usually takes care of the mosque … he saw an opportunity and pounced on [the gunman] and took his gun,” Syed Mazharuddin told the New Zealand Herald.A survivor of the attack at Linwood described how a man tackled the shooter. “The young guy who usually takes care of the mosque … he saw an opportunity and pounced on [the gunman] and took his gun,” Syed Mazharuddin told the New Zealand Herald.
“The hero tried to chase and he couldn’t find the trigger in the gun … He ran behind him but there were people waiting for him in the car and he fled.”“The hero tried to chase and he couldn’t find the trigger in the gun … He ran behind him but there were people waiting for him in the car and he fled.”
Images from the gunman’s camera showed weapons and ammunition displaying white-supremacist symbols, including the names of a Swedish child killed in a lorry attack in 2017 and a man hailed for defeating Muslims in an eighth-century battle.Images from the gunman’s camera showed weapons and ammunition displaying white-supremacist symbols, including the names of a Swedish child killed in a lorry attack in 2017 and a man hailed for defeating Muslims in an eighth-century battle.
One ammunition clip had the words “For Rotherham”, in an apparent reference to child grooming gangs in the UK town.One ammunition clip had the words “For Rotherham”, in an apparent reference to child grooming gangs in the UK town.
In a 74-page document posted online, Tarrant said he wanted to create “an atmosphere of fear” against Muslims and claimed the Norwegian white supremacist and mass murderer Anders Breivik had given his “blessing” to the atrocity. In a 74-page document posted online, Tarrant said he wanted to create “an atmosphere of fear” against Muslims and claimed the Norwegian white supremacist and mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik had given his “blessing” to the atrocity.
Describing himself as a “regular white man from a regular family” who “decided to take a stand to ensure a future for my people”, Tarrant said he wanted his attack to send a message that “nowhere in the world is safe”.Describing himself as a “regular white man from a regular family” who “decided to take a stand to ensure a future for my people”, Tarrant said he wanted his attack to send a message that “nowhere in the world is safe”.
Ardern said the shootings were an extraordinary and unprecedented act of terrorism. Muslim immigrants had “chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us,” the prime minister said. “The person who has perpetuated this violence is against us is not us. They have no place in New Zealand.”Ardern said the shootings were an extraordinary and unprecedented act of terrorism. Muslim immigrants had “chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us,” the prime minister said. “The person who has perpetuated this violence is against us is not us. They have no place in New Zealand.”
Lianne Dalziel, Christchurch’s mayor, said the attack had “come as a bolt from the blue … It just feels like it’s not what would happen in a place like New Zealand.”Lianne Dalziel, Christchurch’s mayor, said the attack had “come as a bolt from the blue … It just feels like it’s not what would happen in a place like New Zealand.”
World leaders expressed sorrow, shock and anger. The Queen – New Zealand’s head of state – sent prayers and condolences to the bereaved, saying she was “saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch”.World leaders expressed sorrow, shock and anger. The Queen – New Zealand’s head of state – sent prayers and condolences to the bereaved, saying she was “saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch”.
Pope Francis denounced the “senseless acts of violence” and offered solidarity and prayers.Pope Francis denounced the “senseless acts of violence” and offered solidarity and prayers.
Donald Trump expressed his “warmest sympathy and best wishes” to the people of New Zealand after “the horrible massacre in the mosques”. The US president tweeted that “innocent people have so senselessly died” and added: “The US stands by New Zealand for anything we can do.”Donald Trump expressed his “warmest sympathy and best wishes” to the people of New Zealand after “the horrible massacre in the mosques”. The US president tweeted that “innocent people have so senselessly died” and added: “The US stands by New Zealand for anything we can do.”
The British prime minister, Theresa May, called the assault a “sickening act of violence”.The British prime minister, Theresa May, called the assault a “sickening act of violence”.
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