On Friday afternoon in Christchurch, New Zealand, a mass shooting occurred at two mosques where the shooter drove by and shot at patrons inside. At the time of the publication of this article, the death toll is estimated to be 49 people. So far four individuals have been detained, three men and one woman. Beyond this shooting, police also responded to reports of IEDs strapped to vehicles which they were able to secure prior to them being used.
A video has surfaced from social media that’s being circulated that is apparently from the gunman showing the shooting take place from his point of view. Some witnesses have described the man as a 30 to 40-year old dressed in a military-style camouflage outfit carrying an automatic rifle. Officials have urged the public to stop circulating the video because of its disturbing content depicted.
Police have since lifted a lockdown on local schools following an earlier announcement to the public for everyone in the Christchurch area to stay indoors. The shooting had taken place close to a student Global Climate Strike event. A large police presence has been dispatched throughout the city to continue to secure the safety of Christchurch. Information has been steadily coming in where the gunman is possibly an Australian national, although this is not verified yet.
Although motives aren’t fully confirmed, the shooter focused on Muslims worshipping in the mosques who were primarily migrants who had come to New Zealand recently. This attack is possibly a reaction to the rise in migrants although it isn’t confirmed as this story is developing. A 87-page manifesto has also been found online describing “anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant” sentiments. Sources are still seeking to independently confirm the authenticity of this manifesto.