Suspect In New Zealand Mosque Attack Appears In Court

Flanked by two police officers, he smirked when media persons photographed him during the hearing and was seen making the white power gesture. Those injured range from young children to the elderly. Hospital officials said some of the wounded were in a critical condition.

Brenton Tarrant, charged for murder in relation to the mosque attacks, is lead into the dock for his appearance in the Christchurch District Court, New Zealand March 16, 2019.

Friday's shootings that left at least 49 people dead at two mosques in New Zealand may put a new focus on the country's approach to firearms safety.

"Even if you ask someone about the quake today they will start crying, so this tragedy will stay in the heart of everyone", says Raj Sandhu, 25, who moved to New Zealand from India three years ago, and came to the Al Noor mosque to pay his respects.

"It's outrageous, the feeling is outrageous", he said. The nationalities of the victims included Indian, Pakistani, Malaysian, Indonesian, Egyptian, Bangladeshi, Saudi, Somalian and Turkish, authorities said.

One woman, a local Kiwi, fell down beside his wife when she was shot dead, AbdelHalim said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families".

New Zealand law enforcement is working with Australian intelligence and police in the "wide-reaching" investigation, the commissioner said.

"It means a lot".

Revelations that Tarrant had a standard gun license from 2017 despite a history of posting of hate-speech online prompted Ardern to say the nation's gun laws "will change".

The attack has prompted an outpouring of grief and deep shock in this usually peaceful and hospitable country, which prides itself on welcoming refugees fleeing violence or persecution.

Huang Yan, the manager of the Christchurch branch of China's Southern Airlines, told Xinhua the mass shooting would bring negative impact on New Zealand tourism as Christchurch has just been recovered from the aftermath of the 2011 deadly quake.

Those views were apparent even among the onlookers gathered at Al Noor Mosque. "All the people you pray with, you see beside you." he added, his voice trailing off. "Our hearts are breaking for your loss", read one of the notes marked with a string of x-kisses.

She said the shooter had five guns, two of them semi-automatic.

The suspect documented his radicalisation and two years of preparations in a lengthy, meandering and conspiracy filled far-right "manifesto".

The video footage showed a man driving to the mosque, entering it and shooting randomly at people present inside.

Thirty-six minutes after the police received the first call, Tarrant was in custody. Police say that this person was a member of the public armed with a gun with the intention of assisting officers.

Another of Daoud´s sons, Yama, was on the way to the mosque - to make up with his father after a small falling out - when he bumped into a friend outside who told him "your father saved my life".

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said one of the men in custody was Australian. She called the shootings a terrorist attack, one that appeared to have been well planned.

Mourners write condolence messages in chalk along the footpaths in Christchurch. "We're in a big multi-diverse society, everybody can just practise their religion freely, they can enjoy their rituals, without actually being forced to change their beliefs".

Earlier, a gunman opened fire on Friday prayers at a mosque in New Zealand killing many worshippers and forcing the city of Christchurch into lockdown as police launched a massive manhunt.

The attack has prompted searching questions about whether right-wing extremism has been treated with enough seriousness by Western governments.

  • Rogelio Becker