Yet another mass shooting is sweeping the news but this time in takes place in New Zealand. At least 49 people have been confirmed dead and there are more than 20 that have been seriously injured during the shootings. These crimes took place in two separate mosques in the city of Christchurch during the early afternoon (New Zealand time). The unprovoked attack has left the nation as well as the rest of the world in shock and a state of panic.
The shooters were also indiscriminate with who they hit; even small children were admitted to the Christchurch hospital with gunshot wounds. Jacinda Ardern, who is New Zealand’s Prime Minister, told reporters that the gunmen had “extremist” views. “These views do not belong in our country nor do they belong in the rest of the world. This type of thinking is outdated and must be eradicated. This was not just a mass shooting; this was a terrorist attack.”
So far, three people have been arrested. Each of these three had connections with the shootings that occurred. One of the shooters, a 28-year-old male, is being charged with murder. He is expected to make an appearance in court Saturday morning.
This probably won’t surprise anyone much given the attack is very new and recent so there isn’t a lot of information available currently. However, we will share what we do know with you.
Here’s what we do know
The two who were also arrested as having connections were taken into custody due to the fact that they had firearms in their possession. Police aren’t sure as to what their involvement with the shootings technically is, but they’re working on it. As of Friday night in New Zealand, the two still remain behind bars and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. Currently the police don’t believe there are any other suspects, but the investigation is still open.
According to Scott Morrison, who is Australia’s Prime Minister, the man responsible for the shooting is a “terrorist with extremist right-wing views.” With these kinds of views and malevolence you’d expect some sort of paper trail but there isn’t one; at least not much of one. None of the three have been on any security watch lists before the attack occurred. There also isn’t much evidence of their hatred on social media. There is only one propaganda piece discussing their views, but that was posted just before the attack.
Many also suspect that reporters and authorities are jumping to conclusions so to speak with labeling them as “right-wing extremists” as supposedly nothing has been admitted. However, this is a detail that nobody really seems to know the truth regarding it.
Authorities have also come forward and informed multiple news media outlets that they will not discuss the potential motives or reasons behind this incident at this time. We expect that this is due to the fact that it is all currently speculation and we expect to hear the motives as soon as they’re discovered.
Bush, New Zealand’s Police Commissioner, spoke out regarding the attacks. He confirmed that at least 41 people lost their lives at the al Noor mosque. This mosque is located on Deans Avenue, just a short distance from the other tragic location the gunman targeted. Seven people lost their lives at the Linwood mosque and one person died in hospital due to the injuries sustained. Both of these mosques were located within the city center of Christchurch and have since been put on guarded lockdown.
The attack was live broadcasted
While the crime committed was definitely heinous and shocking, one of the most vile parts of the shooting is the fact that it was live streamed for the world to see. People around the world could watch as the gunmen took down men, women, children, and the elderly without discrimination. Of course the video as well as the account have since been removed, but links still exist. Police are urging people not to view or share the video link if (when) it resurfaces. Currently they are working to remove all traces of it from the Internet, but of course that’s proving difficult.
The video that’s being shared online as well as a link to the live broadcast that took place during the shooting show an armed male walking into a mosque full of people and simply opening fire on everyone. In the footage, you can hear the shots ringing out in rapid succession as well as hear the screams of victims. Viewers were also privy to the victims, watching them take gunshots and fall to the ground. Truly this is the work of a twisted, horrible individual.
Facebook was quick to take action as well. Once they were informed by the New Zealand Police of their presence, Facebook immediately took down the videos and all of those that were similar or copies. They also removed the live broadcast as well as the shooter’s Facebook account to prevent it from spreading further than it already had. Facebook representative Mia Garlick also told the press that “we’re pulling any and all support as well as praise for the shooter and his crimes. We don’t want this kind of villainy on Facebook. Any users who post praise towards the act will have their accounts immediately suspended.”
YouTube and Google have also come forward with their condolences for those involved. “This type of violent, graphic, and heinous content does not belong on our platforms and we are removing the content as soon as we are made aware of its presence. We will also continue to work closely and carefully with authorities as cooperation is imperative at this time.”
Twitter has also stepped up to the plate. “We are truly saddened and outraged by the Christchurch shootings that happened today,” they told the press. “We have a team that has been put into place for emergency situations like this. It is their sole responsibility to insure that this type of content does not surface anywhere on our platform and any accounts found praising or sharing the content will be shut down immediately. We will also continue to work with law enforcement as requested in order to help their investigations continue to run smoothly. Our thoughts go out to those affected by this tragedy.”
Before the attack was carried out, one of the attackers posted on social media. Here, he posted a link that took people to an 87-page manifesto. This manifesto was full of anti-Muslim as well as anti-immigrant sentiments. Also included were motives for the attack, but the police aren’t taking any of it to heart yet. The manifesto was also left unsigned.
For those who aren’t sure what exactly a manifesto is, it’s a published declaration of the issuer’s intents, opinions, motives, visions for the world, and/or their views. These views are not restricted to one more person; they can represent those a group, government, or political party. It is also important that the manifesto be signed. This means that you are pledging yourself to these ideals and are committed to seeing them through. The fact that the 87-page manifesto found on the social media post wasn’t signed is confusing to say the least.
Explosives found in vehicles
In addition to the tragic loss of lives, two explosives were found attached to vehicles. They are directly related to the attack according to police. One of the homemade IEDS has already been disabled and (at the time of this article) they are currently working on diffusing the other. By the time this article is published, we imagine that the other bomb will have long since been diffused. “This just adds to the severity of the situation at hand,” the Police Commissioner said. The purpose of the bombs hasn’t been confirmed, but we imagine that they were designed to not only cause panic, but to injure those who were able to escape the gunman and took refuge in the street.
In addition to the IEDs, a variety of weapons were also recovered from both mosque locations. Police haven’t confirmed the weapons that were recovered, but the press and media outlets suspect that they are assault guns. However, we likely will not know for certain what this weapon cache included for some time.
The attack drug on for 10-15 minutes
Heavily armed police officers were en route after reports of the shootings went out at 1:40 pm. This is the busiest time for mosques around the world as many Muslims come to them for Friday prayers.
Reporters spoke to an eyewitness, Mohan Ibn Ibrahim, who had been present inside the mosque with the gunman opened fire. He told the press that the gunman opened fire and continued to do so for 10 to 15 minutes. “Time blurred; it felt like hours but I know it was only around 10 or 15 minutes. I can’t say for sure, it all just sort of melted together. I can tell you that it was a steady stream of gunfire.”
Ibrahim went on to say, “the mosque is huge and there was over 200 of us inside for prayer. The gunmen entered from the back of the mosque and opened up fire on us. We had to jump walls to escape the line of fire. There was a lot of broken glass and brick at the back of the mosque. It was intense. We were crawling over people that we didn’t know were dead or alive and people were falling beside us as we ran. Some people just ducked and hid where they could, others tried to make it to the door. It was complete chaos.”
Another eyewitness was outside of the mosque when the tragedy begun. He could heard the gunman inside firing and started praying that he would run out of bullets soon. “I kept thinking and praying that he’s got to be out of bullets soon, right? Please God let him be out of bullets soon. I was just standing there waiting and praying to God when a man ran up to me and told me I should be still. The man was shot in the chest in front of me by the gunman. It’s a sight I’ll never forget.”
Police are cautioning people to stay indoors and avoid mosques
The incident is still being treated as ongoing and this status isn’t expected to change anytime soon. Because of the severity of the attack, police are urging residents of Christchurch to stay inside. “We also want to encourage these individuals to continue to check the police website as well as social media for updates regarding the situation. We want to keep the public as informed and as up to date as possible. However until it is deemed safe, we also want these individuals to remain indoors.”
While the attack has thus far been limited to these two mosques, Bush has asked the public to avoid going to ANY mosque located within New Zealand. “Please close your doors until we tell you that it is safe to open them again. Just because we have the suspects in custody doesn’t mean that other attacks aren’t being planned right under our noses.”
People close to the mosques and other “locations of interest” have been evacuated. These points of interest stretch as far as Dunedin, a southern city that is about 225 miles removed from Christchurch for fear of attacks. These were precautionary evacuations and the residents have been given accommodations elsewhere.
Currently, police have pooled all of their resources and mobilized each one to respond to this tragedy. Those not in “direct use” are on standby awaiting further instructions and ready to act within a moment’s notice.
World Leaders are banding together in this time of tragedy
All around the world, leaders are offering their condolences for the tragedy that took New Zealand by surprise. Morrison, Australia’s Prime Minister, has requested that flags be lowered to half-mast as a sign of respect for those who lost their lives in the attack. “Australia stands united with New Zealand during this dark, unforgiving time where they have been stripped of their innocence and peace by violence and hatred,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet.
US President Donald Trump also tweeted out his sympathies to New Zealand. “My condolences and prayers go out to those affected by this tragedy in New Zealand. This horrible massacre has claimed the lives of 49 innocent people. They died so needlessly and so tragically. There are so many more suffering with injuries and our thoughts go out to them in their time of need. The United States will stand by New Zealand and we will help in any way we can.”
Numerous other political leaders took to Twitter as well as press conferences to offer their condolences and to let New Zealand know that they are standing united with them.
Sending our sympathies as well We would also like to offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to New Zealand in their time of need. So many good and loving people have been taken away from their loved ones because of radical extremists whose hearts are filled with evil and hatred.