The death toll in the New Zealand mosques massacre is now at 50.
Two days ago, a gunman shot up two mosques in the city of Christchurch.
According to The New York Times, the attacker appears to be “a white nationalist who posted a racist manifesto online and streamed live video of the killings on Facebook.”
Saturday morning, the suspect appeared in court. He has been identified as 28-year-old Brenton Harrison Tarrant. He may be charged under the country’s Terrorism Suppression Act. Additional charges are forthcoming, supplemental to murder.
Minutes before Friday’s attack, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern — as well as several news outlets and other politicians — received an email manifesto.
Tarrant was in possession of five guns, “including two semi-automatic weapons,” as per the Times. This is confusing reporting, because semi-automatics are just normal guns — they fire one bullet per pull of the trigger. Is the paper implying the gunman had three machine guns? Or three revolvers, which may not be called semi-automatic yet are functionally so? Why would anyone use a revolver in a mass shooting? They can’t jam, but they can only hold a few bullets.
I believe the Times — in sync with the rest of the mainstream media — is suggesting that a semi-automatic is an especially mass-murderous kind of gun. It isn’t.
In response to the ghastly assault, the Prime Minister has promised there will be change to the nation’s firearm laws.
After receiving a call about the first shooting, police took 36 minutes to arrive on the scene.
The shooter took 7 minutes to get to the second mosque after leaving the first.
He was arrested in his car.
Could there be more involved in the crime?
[New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush] said at a press conference Sunday that others had been arrested but that police did not believe they were involved in the attack.
“I will not be saying anything conclusive until we are absolutely convinced as to how many people were involved, but we hope to be able to give that advice over the next few days,” Bush added.
Two other people were apprehended, Bush said, and police seized a firearm from them. The woman was released without charge, while the other man was charged with firearms offenses.
One additional man was also arrested in the aftermath of the shooting, but police said they don’t believe he was involved in the attack either. Bush said the man was helping get children to safety but that he armed himself, “which is not the right approach.”
Abdul Aziz Wahabzadah was inside the Linwood Islamic Centre when the shooter began firing.
More from CNN:
Wahabzadah grabbed a credit card reader and ran outside the building. He threw the credit card reader at the suspect while shouting at him in an attempt to distract the shooter away from the mosque.
“I was screaming at the guy, ‘Come here, I’m here’,” Wahabzadah told CNN. “I just want him to put more focus on me than go inside the masjid (“mosque”). But unfortunately, he got himself to the masjid.”
Wahabzadah’s four children were inside the mosque.
Wahabzadah said the shooter then dropped his weapon and ran back to his car. Wahabzadah said he thought the shooter went to get more weapons from his car.
Wahabzadah told CNN he ran after the shooter and picked up a discarded weapon of the gunman, which he described as a “shotgun.” He threw it at the gunman’s car, shattering his window.
“When he sees me I am chasing with a gun, he sat in his car”, Wahabzadah said. “And I just got the gun and throw it on his window like an arrow and blast his window. He thought probably I shot him or something and then he drive off.”
Wahabzadah didn’t stop there. He said he continued chasing after him but the shooter did a U-turn and raced off.
It was then that Wahabzadah said he returned to the mosque to discover the scope of the violence.
Details are still being released, but the 50th body was recently discovered at the Linwood Mosque.
Here’s a timeline, courtesy of the BBC:
The first shooting took place at the Al Noor Mosque, in central Christchurch.
A gunman using the name Brenton Tarrant live-streamed footage of his rampage to Facebook, filmed with a head-mounted camera.
Footage showed the man, armed with semi-automatic weapons, firing indiscriminately at men, women and children from close range inside the mosque.
The attacker’s headcam footage begins in an industrial estate on Leslie Hills Drive, just west of Al Noor Mosque.
It shows him driving south on to Mandeville Street and Blenheim Road towards the city centre before turning north up Deans Avenue.
He reaches the mosque a few minutes later, pulling the car into an alleyway at the side of the building and turning the car around to park facing Deans Avenue.
The suspect then gets out, selects a weapon from the boot of the car and walks to the building, where he begins his deadly attack on worshippers inside.
This was approximately 13:40 local time (00:40 GMT).
Six minutes later, he drives along Deans Avenue, around the Botanic Gardens to Bealey Avenue, where his headcam footage cuts out.
The second attack then took place a little later five kilometres away at Linwood Mosque, east of the city centre.
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Police have a number of key priorities as we continue to work in response to the Christchurch terror attacks.Our priority is public safety, not just in Christchurch but nationally. We have deployed staff right across the country.Our other key priority is making sure that those people so horribly affected by these events get the support and welfare that they need.Our investigation will focus on what unfolded and how it unfolded, and to answer the many questions people will have.We also want to ensure that all our staff and responders get every support possible.I want to acknowledge the leaders from all of the agencies involved, including Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price who has led the local response.I also want to acknowledge St John, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Civil Defence, NZDF, Victim Support, Christchurch City Council and the other agencies working so closely together.One offender, a 28-year-old male, has been charged with one count of murder. He has been remanded to the High Court to reappear on 5 April. Any further charges he will face will be determined by the ongoing investigation.There are many, many victims of this tragic event and we are giving every possible support to them.I also want to thank all of the religious leaders and Imams who have travelled here to give their support to those who have been affected.
Posted by New Zealand Police on Friday, March 15, 2019
Sadly, Police can confirm this morning that during the scene examination of the Deans Avenue Mosque yesterday, the body of a further victim was found.
The death toll now stands at 50.
— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) March 16, 2019
New Zealand high commissioner praises the "sympathy and solidarity" of Australian mates. Re perpetraitors: "they are not us, they are not Australia either". #auspol @mmcgowan #ChristChurch pic.twitter.com/zS9boqbPl3
— Paul Karp (@Paul_Karp) March 16, 2019
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