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New Zealand shooting LIVE updates: Nine DEAD after brutal Christchurch 'massacre'

New Zealand shooting

Emergency services personnel push stretchers carrying a person into a hospital (Image: REUTERS)

New Zealand police deployed armed officers in central Christchurch on Friday after reports shots had been fired, police said, and witnesses at a mosque told media of many casualties. People in the centre of the city should stay indoors, police said. Police officials did not immediately comment on whether the incident took place in the mosque or nearby. 

Follow below for live updates (all times in GMT).

5.06am update: YouTuber response to being named in gunman’s live stream

Swedish YouTuber who goes by the handle PewDiePie has responded to being named in the gunman’s live stream. 

Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg said: “Just heard news of the devastating reports from New Zealand Christchurch. I feel absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person.

“My heart and thoughts go out to the victims, families and everyone affected by this tragedy.”

The gunman said at the end of his livestream that people should subscribe to the YouTuber. 

4.56am update: Los Angeles police department deploying police around mosques

The LAPD are providing extra partols around mosques “out of an abundance of caution”.

They wrote on Twitter: “The LAPD is monitoring the horrific events unfolding in Christchurch, New Zealand.

“While this attack appears to be an isolated incident with no nexus to LA, out of an abundance of caution we’re providing extra patrols around mosques. Our thoughts & prayers are with all affected.”

4.53am update: Lockdowns and road cordons lifted

Lockdowns on schools throughout Christchurch have been lifted. 

Police said in a statement the lockdown of schools throughout Christchurch had been lifted.

“We would like to reassure members of the public that there is a large police presence in the city and the safety of the community is our priority.”

The cordon on Langdons Road near the mosques has been lifted.

4.42am update: “I have worked so hard to be in New Zealand but what for – to be shot at?”

Witness describes shocking scenes inside the Linwood Mosque during the second shooting where 100 people were praying. 

He told stuff.nz: “I didn’t know what a gun sounded like. It is customary when we are praying not to pay attention to the outside world … Gunshots kept happening and people kept praying.”

“I saw two females and four or five males dead and the rest were severe casualties. The whole mosque was filled with blood and dead bodies. It was like a battlefield.”

The 27-year-old had moved to New Zealand from Fiji in 2015.

“I am thinking, I have worked so hard to be in New Zealand but what for – to be shot at?”

4.37am update: Four people are in custody – three men and one woman

Mike Bush has confirmed that four people are in custody, but that things are moving very quickly.

He will not confirm if it is a terrorist attack, but says “it does not get more serious than this”.

Police will not assume the violence is confined to Christchurch but say they have no reason to beliee there may be attacked in other countries. 

However, he warns that they can’t be too careful.

mike

Mike Bush said a number of bombs were attached to cars in Christchurch (Image: GETTY)

4.33am update: New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush has opened a press conference

Mike Bush said: “This is absolutely tragic and there will be so many people affected.”

He says they will set up a facility so that families of the victims that can get the information they need, but they don’t have the identities of the victims yet, due to the lockdown.

Attackers were apprehended by local police, and Bush says he is “absolutely proud” of the officers who were involved.

A number of bombs were attacked to cars, the police have confirmed.

a number of IEDs attached to cars that have been made safe now.

“This speaks to the seriousness of what occurred,” said Bush.

3.59am update: Horrific witness account from someone at the Al Noor mosque

He told TVNZ: “It started in the main room.

“I was in the side room, so I didn’t see who was shooting but I saw that some people were running out to my room where I was in, I saw some people had blood on their body and some people were limping. It was at the moment I realised things were really serious.

“So I tried too get out and I pushed myself at the back where my car was, and from there I heard the shooting, it went on six minutes or more, I could hear screaming and crying, I saw some people drop dead, some people were running away, I was in a wheelchair, so I couldn’t get anywhere.

“He did his massacre inside the mosque.”

3.54am update: Armed police deployed to all central district mosques

Armed police have been stations in all central district mosques, Greer Berry has reported. 

He would not confirm if it was a nationwide directive or due to a particular threat.

The airspace above Christchurch is now controlled. 

Civil Aviation Authority spokeswoman Pania Shingleton said airspace over Christchurch city where the incident occurred was now controlled airspace.

arrest

Video captures the moment the gunman is arrested (Image: Stuff.nz)

3.44am update: Gunman was dressed in military-style clothing and wore a helmet

Horrifying witness account from Mohan Ibrahim who was inside the mosque when the shooting began. 

He told the New Zealand Herald he thought it was an electric shock but then all these people started running.

He said: “I still have friends inside. I have been calling my friends but there are many I haven’t heard from. I am scared for my friends lives.”

Ahmad Al-mahmoud described seeing the man “coming through and shooting everyone in the mosque.

He told Stuff.co: “We’re trying to get everyone to run from the area because we couldn’t get everyone out throught the door.

He said he jumped over the back fence of the mosque to escape.

“I haven’t seen the guy correctly but he was wearing helmet and these things.”

3.36am update: The alleged suspect live streamed the vicious attack on Facebook

The gunman live streamed the attack in the mosque on Facebook. 

The video has since been taken down by the social media site. 

Videos show the man carrying an assault rifle covered in writing. 

New Zealand Police said: “Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online.

“We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed.”

3.20am update: “No one in the country must go to a mosque under any circumstances” – Police commissioner has warned

Police Comissioner Bush has warned people not to go to any mosques. 

Air NZ have offered travellers to cancel their flights into Christchurch. 

Anyone travelling out will also have flexibility and the airline says it will waive any change fees. 

Customers can contact the airline on 0800 737 000 or via a Facebook message.

“Call volumes may be higher than usual as a result of this incident, impacted customers are not required to advise Air New Zealand today of changes to their travel plans,” the airline said in a written statement.

JACINDA

Jacinda Arden called the attack an “extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence” (Image: GETTY)

3.14am update: Prime Minister Jacinda Arden addresses the country 

Jacinda Arden has condemned the attack and called it “one of New Zealan’s darkest days.”

She said: the perpetrator “has no place in New Zealand”.

“I’m not currently in a position to confirm casualties or injuries.” But she says it is clear so far “this is a significant event”.

“It will be one of New Zealand’s darkest days. I would describe it as an unprecedented act of violence.”

She says of the people who were attacked, “New Zealand is their home, they should have felt safe here.”

She will now hold a crisis meeting in Wellington. 

3.10am update: Police tell residents to “Close doors until you hear from us again.”

New Zealand police have confirmed one suspect is in custody following the attack. 

But the situation is ongoing and an active shooter is still at large. 

Commissioner Mike Bush said it was a “very serious and grave situation” and warned people not to leave their homes.

He said: “Close your doors until you hear from us again.”

3.02am update: Second shooting in linwood mosque confirmed

A second shooting an linwood mosque has been confirmed by New Zealand Police only a few streets over.

The gunman live streamed the brutal attack on Facebook and wrote a 31-page manifesto about his plans to carry out the event. 

Sabir Hussain, who was inside Linwood Mosque, said he was “doing a prayer when our Imam (the leader of a mosque) said our brothers have been shot”.

Hussain went into the washroom and saw one man dead outside through the window.

He knew he “was not safe”, jumped out of the window and hid behind a fence until police arrived.

A reporter at the scene said people at the cordon were hugging as they passed through the tape. One man wearing a prayer robe was covered in blood but appeared to be uninjured.

Police have confirmed multiple fatalities at both mosques. 

attack

Victims have been pictured being taken to hospital after the shooting (Image: one news)

2.55am update: A witness shares his experience with local media – “He did his massacre inside the mosque.”

A man who was at the mosque during the attack told news outlet TVNZ he hasn’t seen his wife, who was also in the mosque this morning, since the shooting.

The man, who is a wheelchair, gave a chilling account of the event.

He said: “It was very peaceful, calm and quiet, as it is when the sermon starts, you could hear a pin drop.

“Then suddenly the shooting started. It started in the main room.

“I was in the side room, so I didn’t see who was shooting but I saw that some people were running out to my room where I was in, I saw some people had blood on their body and some people were limping. It was at the moment I realised things were really serious.

“So I tried too get out and I pushed myself at the back where my car was, and from there I heard the shooting, it went on six minutes or more, I could hear screaming and crying, I saw some people drop dead, some people were running away, I was in a wheelchair, so I couldn’t get anywhere.

“He did his massacre inside the mosque.”

2.43am update: Local hospitals prepare for up to 50 causalities amid council building being put on lockdown

Christchurch City council said in a statement: “In response to a serious ongoing incident we’re locking down number of central city buildings, including the Civic Offices and Central Library.”

A number of local schools are also in a state of lockdown as people are urged not to travel within the vicinity of the city centre. 

2.30am update: RECAP on events – witnesses tell of ‘blood everywhere’ in horror shooting 

The gun attack happened at 1.40pm local time (0.40am GMT) during afternoon prayers.

Up to 300 people were inside the mosque when the shooting began according to reports.

Some members of the Bangladesh cricket team were filmed fleeing the scene.

A witness told Stuff NZ he had seen four people lying on the ground and “blood everywhere”.

The Bangladesh team’s Tamim Iqbal Khan wrote: “Entire team got saved from active shooters.

“Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers.”

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