One man is charged with murder after 49 killed at two mosques in the city of Christchurch
Forty-nine people are confirmed dead after Friday’s shootings at two mosques in the city in New Zealand’s South Island. Forty-one people died at Al Noor mosque and seven at Linwood mosque. Another victim died later at hospital.
A 28-year-old Australian man named Brenton Tarrant has appeared in court in Christchurch charged with murder. The judge said on Saturday morning he expected more charges to be laid. No application for bail was made and he is due to appear in court again on 5 April.
The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern has said the suspect planned to continue his attack and had two other firearms were in his vehicle. She said the weapons used in the attack were modified.
New Zealand’s police commissioner, Mike Bush has said police “are not searching for anyone posing a threat but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist”. Bush said the main suspect, one of four who were initially arrested, was taken into custody 36 minutes after the first emergency calls came in.
A 14-year-old boy, Sayyad Milne, was among those who died, his father confirmed.
Arden said on Saturday 39 people are in hospital, 11 are in intensive care, ranging from children to the elderly.
The chief of surgery at Christchurch hospital, Greg Robertson, said 12 operating theatres worked through the night. Robertson said many will need multiple operations.
Arden has said the nation’s gun laws will change after it emerged the main suspect held a firearms licence and said he had been legally stockpiling weapons since 2017. Ardern said he was carrying five firearms at the time of the attacks, including two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns.
The attorney general, David Parker, said the government would ban semi-automatic rifles, warning of a global rise in extremism. “There is a dimming of enlightenment in many parts of the world,” he is quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald.