At least 49 people are killed and 48 injured in multiple Christchurch mosque massacres involving an Australian terrorist, 28, who live-streamed himself opening fire on worshippers
A white Australian right-wing terrorist who livestreamed his sickening shooting spree on Facebook is one of four people arrested over dual mosque attacks which left 49 dead and 48 injured on New Zealand’s 'darkest day'.
The gunman, who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant from Grafton, NSW, Australia, stormed the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country's South Island about 1.30pm, opening fire with a semi-automatic shotgun and a rifle on about 100 defenceless worshippers attending Friday prayers.
A sickening 17-minute video of the unfolding horror shows the self-confessed white supremacist dressed in army fatigues firing mercilessly at people scrambling to flee, and calmly reloading when he runs out of bullets.
At about the same time, there was a second shooting at Masjid mosque in Linwood, where seven more were killed.
In the aftermath of the bloody attacks, three men and one woman were arrested, with police charging 'one man in his late 20s' with murder. He is expected to face court on Saturday.
Three of the arrests are believed to be directly related to the attacks, with the fourth's involvement still being determined.
Of the 49 fatalities, 41 were killed at the Al Noor Mosque and seven at the Linwood Avenue mosque. Three were outside the mosque itself. A 49th died in hospital.
A further 48 people were rushed to Christchurch Hospital with gunshot wounds, 20 in a critical condition. A dozen operating theatres were opened, with many victims requiring multiple life-saving surgeries.
New Zealand Police have evacuated homes in Dunedin as they investigate a home 'of interest' to the shootings.
The address is believed to be the home the gunman's car is registered to. Surrounding homes on Somerville Street were evacuated as a 'precaution'.
In New Zealand's worst ever terror attack and one of the worst mass-shootings ever:
- 49 people killed by at least one gunman at two separate mosques in Christchurch on Friday from 1.30pm
- The gunman at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch - a 28-year-old Australian - live-streamed the mass shooting
- Four suspects - who were not known to counter-terror authorities - are being questioned in custody
- One of the men in his 'late 20s', whose identity has not been confirmed by police, was later charged with murder
- The Bangladesh cricket team were on their way to the Al Noor Mosque at the time of the shooting
- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Friday's terror attack was 'one of New Zealand's darkest days'
The moment police officer apprehends alleged Christchurch shooter
A man who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant (pictured) live-streamed the massacre of dozens of people in Christchurch, New Zealand
Tarrant (pictured as a child in his late father's arms) live-streamed the shooting spree to his social media account
Police arrested and charged one man aged 'in his late 20s' with murder. He is expected to face court Saturday. Pictured is Tarrant during a holiday in Pakistan
Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots and police are responding to the incident at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country's South Island. Pictured is a still from a live-stream of the shooting
A man wearing military fatigues (pictured) was arrested outside Papanui High School
At least one gunman has opened fire at a mosque in New Zealand , shooting at children and killing dozens of people
Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots and police are responding to the incident at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country's South Island
At least 40 people were reported dead as a result of the twin massacres on Friday, with the total rising to 49 within an hour
Early reports indicated a shooting at Christchurch Hospital. However, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the mosques were the lone targets.
In a twisted manifesto believed to have been written by Tarrant, he said he targeted the mosques because they had 'far more invaders'.
Ms Ardern called the attacks 'one of New Zealand's darkest days'.
Ms Ardern did confirm multiple bombs were attached to two cars belonging to the suspects near the mosque. The explosives were disarmed before they could detonate.
Police urged people near the area to stay indoors and report suspicious behaviour, describing the incident as 'critical'. A lock down on buildings in the area, including schools, was lifted on Friday evening.
Ms Ardern said there were no further suspects at this stage.
The nation's terror threat level was elevated to 'high alert' following the terror attacks, the second highest possible.
'My thoughts, and I'm sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders, are with those who have been affected, and also with their families.'
Many of those families were seen crowding around the doors of Christchurch Hospital on Friday evening, unsure whether their loved ones would survive.