Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Jacinda Ardern says suspect in Christchurch attack meant to continue attack

Jacinda Ardern says suspect in Christchurch attack meant to continue attack

New Zealand will begin to bury its dead today, a day after at least one gunman attacked worshippers in two Christchurch mosques, killing 49 and injuring 42 others.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, briefly came before a district court judge, charged with murder.

He was reprimanded without plea until his next appearance at New Zealand's High Court on April 5.

An imam who was leading prayers at a Christchurch mosque when a gunman brandishing semi-automatic weapons mowed down his congregation said on Saturday (March 16) that the Muslim community's love for New Zealand would not be shaken by the massacre. The judge said "it was reasonable to assume" more such charges would follow.

He posted a 74-page manifesto, calling himself an avowed racist, and citing as inspiration both the white supremacist who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011 and the white supremacist who murdered nine black parishioners at a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015. An officer stopped him. Following the attack, New Zealand's national security level was changed from "low" to "high".

Ardern alluded at a news conference to anti-immigrant sentiment as the possible motive, saying that while many people affected by the shootings may be migrants or refugees, "they have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home".

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The last comparable mass shooting in New Zealand was nearly three decades ago, and the annual murder rate is usually around 50 people for the entire country.

"I was really lucky", Nour Travis, who was on the scene at Al Noor told New Zealand radio station NewsTalk ZB.

New Zealand law enforcement is working with Australian intelligence and police in the "wide-reaching" investigation, the commissioner said.

The suspected gunman rambled on about the supposed aims for the attack, which included reducing immigration by intimidating immigrants and driving a wedge between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Turkish people.

"We stand in solidarity with Muslims around the world in their shock, grief and outrage in the wake of these despicable attacks", said President Gertler, offering his condolences to U of T's Muslim community, and in particular the Muslim Students' Association. "I don't understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone".

A few hundred metres down the street where the alleged gunman drove after attacking the first mosque, bunches of flowers were slowly building in memoriam. Peneha then went into the mosque to help the victims.

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In the video, the killer spends more than two minutes inside the mosque targeting terrified worshippers with gunfire. Children's screams can be heard in the distance as he returns to his auto to get another rifle.

Wahb noted that the attacker had written the name of the Quebec City mosque shooter on his weapon, "so that actually triggers the sad feeling and the sorrow of this tragedy that happened here because we actually experienced it with a city that is close by here".

After going back outside and shooting a woman there, he gets back in his vehicle, where a song can be heard blasting.

The footage showed the killer was carrying a shotgun and two fully automatic military assault rifles, with an extra magazine taped to one of the weapons so that he could reload quickly. No images have emerged from the second mosque.

There are about 1.5 million privately owned firearms in New Zealand, according to the most recent from 2017 data by GunPolicy.org, a global database compiled by the University of Sydney.

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