Video shows moment gunman opened fire on New Zealand mosque
Footage has emerged of the moment one of the New Zealand mosque attackers opened fire as it is revealed one of the attackers was an Australian right-winger with anti-immigrant views.
At least 50 gunshots were heard around two mosques in Christchurch as a man identified as Brenton Tarrant and several others launched an attack.
Police confirmed that he had now been taken into custody. Harrowing footage shows him taking a gun from the back of his car which is parked around the corner from the Al Noor Mosque. The clip below does not show any of the victims.
Identifying himself on Twitter as he broadcast the attack, he then approached the mosque, walking past a couple of people on the road before raising his gun and starting to shoot.
He then walks through the mosque shooting at random as people huddle in the corners of building before being shot again at point blank range. Tarrant then leaves the mosque, shooting at a woman who is in the grounds of the place of worship.
The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that he was a citizen of his country and described him as an ‘extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.’ He said: ‘We stand here and condemn, absolutely the attack that occurred today by an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.
Mr Scott confirmed media reports that the gunman who mowed down worshippers in the main mosque in the southern New Zealand city of Christchurch was an Australian-born citizen.
He said Australian security authorities were investigating any links between the country and the attack, but declined to provide further details about the Australian gunman. An emotional Morrison offered his sympathies to New Zealanders saying: ‘We are not just allies, we are not just partners, we are family.’
New Zealand police said they had detained three men and one woman after attacks on two Christchurch mosques, but they have not provided their identities. ‘It is such a sad and devastating reminder of the evil that can be ever present about us,’ Morrison said of the attacks.
Three men and one woman have been taken into custody and police reported finding several bombs on vehicles in the area. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the events in Christchurch represented ‘an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence’ and acknowledged many of those affected may be migrants and refugees.
Police took three men and a woman into custody after the shootings, which shocked people across the nation of 5 million people. Authorities have not elaborated on who they detained. But a man who claimed responsibility for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto in which he explained who he was and his reasoning for his actions.
Ardern at a news conference alluded 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. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.’
Police Commissioner Mike Bush stopped short of calling the shootings a terrorist attack, although said ‘it doesn’t get any more serious in this country.’
He said police were not aware of other suspects beyond the four who were detained but they couldn’t be certain.
‘The attackers were apprehended by local police staff. There have been some absolute acts of bravery,’ Bush said.
‘I’m hugely proud of our police staff, the way they responded to this. But let’s not presume the danger is gone.’
Bush said the defence force had defused a number of improvised explosive devices that were attached to vehicles stopped after the attacks. He said anybody who was thinking of going to a mosque anywhere in New Zealand on Friday should stay put. Authorities have not yet said how many people were killed and wounded in the shootings.
‘It’s a very serious and grave situation,’ Bush said.
The deadliest occurred at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch at about 1.45 pm. Witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror. Peneha, who lives next door to the mosque, said the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon in his driveway, and fled. Peneha said he then went into the mosque to try and help.
‘I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque,’ he said. ‘It’s unbelievable nutty. I don’t understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It’s ridiculous.’He said he helped about five people recover in his home.
He said one was slightly injured.
‘I’ve lived next door to this mosque for about five years and the people are great, they’re very friendly,’ he said. ‘I just don’t understand it.’