CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand – According to witness reports and tweets from the New Zealand Police, active shooters have killed at least 49 people and injured another 20 people in two Muslim mosques in Christchurch. Fox News reports that officers arrived at the scene of a “serious ongoing firearms incident” at 1:40 p.m. local time on Friday afternoon (8:40 p.m. ET on Thursday).
One gunman was identified as an Australia-born citizen. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described him as “an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.” He is a 28-year old Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant, who live streamed the episode on Facebook.
Canterbury Police tweeted at approximately 12:55 p.m. local time (7.55 p.m. ET) that the Deans Ave area of Christchurch had a “critical incident” developing and that people should avoid the area.
In response to a serious ongoing firearms incident in Christchurch all Christchurch schools have been placed into lockdown. Police urge anyone in central Christchurch to stay off the streets and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to 111.
— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) March 15, 2019
The New Zealand Police Twitter page shows tweets regarding the incidents, urging residents to stay indoors. The police also noted that Christchurch schools would be on lockdown until further notice. The police have also asked all the mosques in New Zealand to shut their doors.
— Ajmal Kabeer (@ajmalkabeer_) March 15, 2019
As per the latest reports, at least 49 people are dead and 20 people are seriously injured. The New Zealand Police said in a statement, “A serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter.” The Police have responded to the situation with their “full capacity,” but the risk environment was still “extremely high.”
Woke up to this bad news!!!!!!!
( إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ )
49 killed and 20 injured in mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand.#NewZealandShooting #ChristchurchMosqueAttack pic.twitter.com/nKSh5oOFRd
— Islamic freedom ♻ (@islamicfreedom) March 15, 2019
Mosques were filled with worshipers
The two mosques involved in the shootings were the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Dean ‘s Road and the Linwood Masjid on Linwood Avenue.
The shooting took place when dozens of people were in the mosques for Friday prayers. The Masjid al Noor was filled with worshipers including members of the Bangladesh cricket team. It is the worst ever mass shooting in New Zealand. The Bangladesh cricket team members were arriving at one of the targeted mosques when the shooting began. They had a narrow escape.
— NŒJ ✨🌼 (@Nj0IL) March 15, 2019
At least 41 people were killed at Masjid al Noor while another 7 died at a mosque in the suburb of Linwood. It was not immediately clear whether both attacks were carried out by the same shooter. Some people at the Al Noor mosque were able to escape through a glass door. Six Indonesian citizens were also inside one of the mosques. Three of them managed to escape, but the other three are still unaccounted for.
2/9 This has been an abhorrent event and my thoughts are with all of those affected in Christchurch. Be assured NZ Police stand with you all tonight.
We now know that 49 people have been killed in the attacks, 41 people at the Deans Avenue mosque, and seven…
— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) March 15, 2019
Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers #christchurchMosqueAttack
— Tamim Iqbal Khan (@TamimOfficial28) March 15, 2019
Photos of the terrorist / shooter
This white australian terrorist killed 49 Muslims at a mosque today in New zealand and the media is calling him a "shooter” not a terrorist because he is not a Muslim, sadly world calls us terrorist, terrorism has no religion, no color and no country pic.twitter.com/DxSpTQVYyk
— Zeeshan Khan Swati (@ZeeshanKhanSwa7) March 15, 2019
The situation was “serious and evolving.” Witnesses say the mosque was packed for evening prayer when the shooter came in. One of the eyewitnesses said he was at Masjid Al Noor and saw the shooter, who was a white, blonde man wearing a bulletproof vest and a helmet.
In a statement to The Associated Press, local man Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black walk into the mosque, and then heard gunshots. Within seconds people began running from the mosque. Peneha has lived next door to the mosque for almost five years, and he said the shooter ran from the building. He tossed what looked like a semi-automatic weapon in Peneha’s driveway and left the scene before the police arrived.
Shocked to hear news of mass firing inside two mosques in #Christchurch #NewZealand My sympathies are with the families of those killed. Relieved to know that #bangladeshcricketteam is safe.#NewZealandShooting #Terrorism #TerroristAttack pic.twitter.com/473S36NTvd
— Rajesh Kumar Prajapati (@Rajeshkp212) March 15, 2019
When Peneha entered the mosque to try to help he saw a sickening sight. “I saw dead people everywhere,” he told the Associated Press. “There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque. It’s unbelievably nutty. I don’t understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It’s ridiculous.”
According to Stuff.co.NZ, Zayd Blissett, who is chairman of the Muslim Association of Marlborough, received a text stating “50 shot” at the mosque. He said, “I’m just heartbroken. In fact, I’m sitting here crying. This is New Zealand. This can’t happen here.”
Another unnamed witness told Stuff.co.nz that the shooter was wearing a helmet and had fired more than 50 shots before exiting the building.
— ravipanasa (@ravipanasa) March 15, 2019
“He had a big gun and a lot of bullets, and he came through and started shooting like everyone in the mosque, like everywhere, and they have to smash the door and the glass from the window and from the small door to try and get out.”
TVNZ reports that a third witness, Mohammed Nazir told police that he had climbed the wall to escape the mosque, leaving his shoes behind. He said he saw three women shot and bleeding outside the mosque.
According to a report from The Guardian, police had also discovered a bomb, just two miles from one of the mosques. It was found in a beige Subaru which had crashed on Strickland Street, possibly while on its way to the mosque. Police are keeping the streets cordoned off until the bomb can be properly dealt with by trained technicians.
My request as a Muslim & fellow human:
The New Zealand terrorists live streamed their terrorist attack with specific hopes you watch it & share it.
Do Not Give Them A Platform.
Suffocate their hate. Suffocate their hate. Suffocate their hate.
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) March 15, 2019
A little after 4 p.m. local time, police announced they had a suspect in the shootings in custody.
3/9 …at the Linwood Avenue mosque. One person died in hospital.
The number of those being treated in hospital has been updated to 48 people.
A 28-year-old man has been charged with murder and is due to appear in the Christchurch District Court tomorrow morning.
— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) March 15, 2019
Christchurch is a city of more than 400,000 people, making it the third largest city in New Zealand. The city was hit by a massive earthquake in 2011 which caused thousands of structures to crumble and claimed the lives of 185 people.
ValueWalk will you keep you updated on further developments in this story as it unfolds.
Why is everyone blaming YouTube star PewDiePie?
Moments before the gunman started shooting, he was heard shouting, “Remember lads, Subscribe to PewDiePie.” Just hours after the terrorist attack, the star YouTuber tweeted, “I feel absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person. My heart and thoughts go out to the victims, families and everyone affected by this tragedy.”
Just heard news of the devastating reports from New Zealand Christchurch.
I feel absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person.
My heart and thoughts go out to the victims, families and everyone affected by this tragedy.
— ƿ૯ωძɿ૯ƿɿ૯ (@pewdiepie) March 15, 2019
For the uninitiated, PewDiePie has been the most popular YouTube channel for years. But Indian music label T-Series is close to dethroning him as the world’s most subscribed YouTube channel. So, PewDiePie fans from around the world have been putting billboards in cities, hacking people’s gadgets and forcing them to subscribe to PewDiePie.
Soon after the Christchurch attacker shouted “Subscribe to PewDiePie,” hate comments flooded the Internet. PewDiePie has allegedly endorsed right-wing extremist views and content on his YouTube channel. PewDiePie has nothing to do with the Christchurch attack, but the mention of his name by the attacker has caused outrage on social media.
If you use pewdiepie and the recent Christchurch shooting in New Zealand to further some political agenda, you are legit scum of the earth. People lost their family members today, focus on that, and focus on condemning hate crimes like this.
— Mightykeef @PAXEAST (@MightyKeef) March 15, 2019
Its not pewdiepie's fucking fault. Anyone could say anything before they kill someone. A shooter could say "I LOVE OBAMA" does that mean obama supporters are shooters? NO! HE SAID WORDS TO CREATE A BUZZ! THATS HIS FUCKING GOAL
— brandon (@brandon_0627) March 15, 2019
UPDATE: Fraser Anning attacked with egg after Christchurch remarks [VIDEO]