Suspect in New Zealand mosque killings makes first court appearance

Esequiel Farfan
Marcha 16, 2019

In the aftermath, the country's threat level was raised from low to high, police warned Muslims against going to a mosque anywhere in New Zealand, and the national airline cancelled several flights in and out of Christchurch, a city of almost 400,000.

Police have charged one man with murder and detained two others for investigation.

Two other people were in custody and police said they were seeking to understand whether they were involved in any way.

"Maybe it's not really the first incident that's happened with violence in mosques but it's the first of its kind with that large number of victims that were actually killed in that heinous attack".

A suspect, described by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as an "extremist, right-wing" terrorist, has been arrested and charged with murder.

She pronounced it "one of New Zealand's darkest days".

US President Donald Trump, who condemned the attack as a "horrible massacre", was praised by the accused gunman in a manifesto posted online as "a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose".

"Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here".

The primary suspect was an Australian citizen who "travelled sporadically to New Zealand and stayed for varied amount of time", Ardern told reporters.

Tarrant was arrested in a vehicle, which police said was carrying improvised explosive devices, 36 minutes after they were first called. He said they had disabled one and were in the process of disabling the second.

Tarrant allegedly took part in terrorist attacks conducted at the Al Noor and Linwood Masjid mosques on Friday afternoon.

"Because I was running late I decided not to go", said Khan.

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"I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque", he said. That was when an Uzbek man drove a truck into a crowd of people in Stockholm, killing five. He said one was slightly injured.

He said he grew up in a working-class Australian family, had a typical childhood and was a poor student.

"I was just saved by luck".

He said the gunman was white and was wearing a helmet with some kind of device on top, giving him a military-type appearance.

The video footage showed a man driving to the mosque, entering it and shooting randomly at people inside.

After going back outside and shooting a woman there, he gets back in his auto, where a song can be heard blasting. The video then cuts out.

The gunman also livestreamed in graphic detail 17 minutes of his rampage at Al Noor mosque, where he sprayed worshippers with bullets, killing at least 41 people.

One more person died later at Christchurch Hospital.

He also reached out to the Muslim community in Christchurch and in New Zealand. "The people of New Zealand are in our thoughts and prayers".

Ardern, who flew to Christchurch on Saturday, said she had spoken to Trump, who had asked how he could help. He said he has donated to many nationalist groups, but claimed not to be a direct member of any organisation.

Meates said at a news conference at the Christchurch hospital that it's "hard to fathom the enormity of this act of terrorism". Still, public debatebegan growing late a year ago about re-examining the country's firearms laws. "This will mark a profound change to New Zealand's self-perception".

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