New Zealand mosque massacre: 49 Muslims slaughtered as neo-Nazi terrorist live-streams himself opening fire on worshipers
At least 49 people were murdered and 48 injured by a 28-year-old Australian neo-Nazi terrorist who opened fire at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers in New Zealand.
New Zealand police warned people to stay indoors as they tried to determine if more than one gunman was involved.
Witnesses reported hearing shots from his weapons including a semi-automatic shotgun and a rifle at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country’s South Island.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the events Friday afternoon “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
PM Ardern raised the country’s security to the highest level saying: “It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack.”
He fired automatic weapons as people ran for their lives and executed people at point-blank range – including one girl who lay on the floor screaming for help.
The gunman – who identified himself on Twitter as Brenton Tarrant from Grafton, New South Wales – live-streamed the mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque, which happened about 1.30pm as Friday prayers were underway.
Four people are in custody, including three men and one woman. Initial reports one of those arrested was wearing a suicide vest were incorrect, as cops warned: “let’s not presume the danger has gone”.
New Zealand Police commissioner Mike Bush said a man in his late twenties has been charged with murder and will appear in court tomorrow.
He added police were still trying to establish if the other three were involved, though one likely had “nothing to do with this incident”.
Police also defused a number of improvised explosives which were found on nearby booby-trapped cars following the bloodbath.
The gunman posted an 87-page manifesto to Twitter before the killings, foreshadowing a ‘terrorist attack’.
People were also reportedly shot at the nearby Linwood Masjid mosque.
Police have urged people near the area to stay indoors and report suspicious behavior, describing the attack as ‘critical’.
“I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque,” a witness who lives next door to the mosque, 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.
He said the gunman was white and was wearing a helmet with some kind of device on top, giving him a military-type appearance.
The distressing video streamed on his Facebook shows the 28-year-old neo-Nazi firing more than 100 shots at people inside the mosque.
His guns were scrawled with the names of past mass killers and cities where the shootings occurred.
The gunman’s rampage began when he got into his car wearing military-style body armor and a helmet saying ‘let’s get this party started’.
He then drove to the mosque listening to folk music and military tunes before parking in an alley around the corner.
The gunman stormed inside and fired quick bursts at anyone he saw. One wounded man tried to crawl away but was shot again after he calmly reloaded.
He fired into crowds of huddled worshipers, sometimes not even looking where he was shooting, reloading numerous times.
When then the sound of his gun stopped between magazines, the moaning of wounded people could be heard until the shots began again.
Several times he stood over wounded men, calmly reloaded his gun, then shot them multiple times to make sure they were dead.
In a manifesto seemingly written by Tarrant and shared to Twitter, he mentions being inspired by other shooters including Anders Breivik who killed 77 people in Oslo, Norway in 2011.
“I mostly agree with Sir Oswald Mosley’s views and consider myself an Eco-fascist by nature,” he writes.
Mosley, an anti-Semite who led a fascist movement and who sought to reconcile Britain and Nazi Germany before the war, was confined to prison by the British during much of the war.
He said he ‘disliked’ Muslims and hated those who had converted to the religion, calling them ‘blood traitors’.
Tarrant said he originally wanted to target a mosque in Dunedin, south of Christchurch, after watching a video on Facebook.
‘But after visiting the mosques in Christchurch and Linwood and seeing the desecration of the church that had been converted to a mosque in Ashburton, my plans changed,’ he wrote.
‘The Christchurch and Linwood mosques had far more invaders.’
He said he had been planning an attack for up to two years and decided on Christchurch three months ago.
The shooter said he was motivated to carry out the attack by the death of Swedish schoolgirl Ebba Akerlund, a girl who was killed in a terrorist attack in Stockholm in April 2017.