Multiple Fatalities Reported in New Zealand Mass Shooting
Two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand were attacked Friday afternoon when at least one gunman opened fire, with “multiple fatalities” reported by New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush, who would not give a more specific number.
According to L.A. Times, local reports are indicating the death toll from the shooting, which began around 1:40 p.m. local time, could be between nine and 27 dead.
Four people are in custody, including three men and one woman. Police found multiple explosive devices in vehicles stopped as the shootings unfolded; the devices have since been defused. Schools were temporarily put on lockdown in the city, which is the largest on the South Island of New Zealand, with a population of about 400,000. Police also advised all mosques nationally to lock their doors.
“This is and will be one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said at a news conference.
New Zealand police indicated that “extremely distressing footage” of the shooting was streamed online as the events took place. Police asked that the link not be shared and wrote on Twitter that they are “working to have any footage removed.”
The New York Times reported that someone appearing to be the gunman posted links to a manifesto on Twitter and 8chan, where he also posted a link to his Facebook page, saying that he would soon livestream the shooting. The 17-minute video includes multiple instances of the gunman firing on victims inside the mosque.
“New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video,” a Facebook spokeswoman told CNN.
The Los Angeles Police Department posted to Twitter that while it had no indication that any related attacks would be carried out in the city, it would increase patrolling around L.A. mosques “out of an abundance of caution.”
More to come…