49 people have been killed and another 48 hospitalized after shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The attacks occurred Friday, first at Al Noor Mosque, followed by another shooting at Linwood Mosque a few miles away.
A portion of the first shooting was live-streamed on Facebook, reportedly from a helmet camera. The 17-minute video shows a man driving to a mosque with weapons, and in turn entering the mosque and shooting people engaged in prayer. According to CNN, Facebook removed the video when made aware of its existence by New Zealand Police, yet the graphic video continue to be shared on other social media platforms such as Twitter and YouTube.
Additionally, New Zealand’s police commissioner Mike Bush stated in a press conference that two explosive devices were found in a vehicle related to the shootings.
Three people have been taken into custody in relation to the shootings (it was earlier reported by some outlets that there were 4 arrested, but police say one of those is unrelated). According to Bush, one of the detainees has been charged with murder and will be facing the Christchurch Court this weekend.
People have yet to confirm the identity of the gunman (and we will not name any suspects until confirmed by New Zealand authorities). But Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has named an Australian citizen believed to be the man facing murder charges , calling the man “an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.” According to the New Zealand Herald, the gunman created a “manifesto” and shared it on Twitter and 8chan, an online board popular for its lack of user and content restrictions. Reportedly, the 87-page manifesto included anti-Muslim rhetoric.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the event “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.” She expressed support for the New Zealand Muslim and migrant communities. In a press conference from Parliament, Ardern expressed the following:
“New Zealand was the home of these victims…I would describe [the shooters] as having extremist views, that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and in fact have no place in the world.”