Witnesses say a number of folks have been killed and injured in a taking pictures at a mosque within the heart of Christchurch, New Zealand.
New Zeland police tweeted that officers responded to a “critical ongoing firearms incident” at roughly 1:40 p.m. Friday (8:40 p.m. Thursday ET). They stated faculties within the metropolis had been positioned on lockdown and urged folks to remain indoors.
Practically two hours after the preliminary response, police tweeted that the state of affairs was “critical and evolving.”
“Police are responding with its full functionality to handle the state of affairs, however the danger surroundings stays extraordinarily excessive.”
There was no official phrase on casualties, however witnesses stated the Masjid Al Noor mosque was full for Friday afternoon prayers and many individuals had been useless.
Witness Len Peneha instructed The Related Press he noticed a person wearing black enter the mosque after which heard dozens of photographs, adopted by folks operating from the mosque in terror. Peneha, who has lived subsequent door to the mosque for about 5 years, stated the gunman ran exterior, dropped what seemed to be a semi-automatic weapon in Peneha’s driveway, and fled earlier than emergency companies arrived.
Peneha stated he went into the mosque to try to assist, however “I noticed useless folks in every single place. There have been three within the hallway, on the door main into the mosque, and folks contained in the mosque. It is unbelievable nutty. I do not perceive how anybody may do that to those folks, to anybody. It is ridiculous.”
Zayd Blissett, chairman of the Muslim Affiliation of Marlborough instructed Stuff.co.NZ that he obtained a textual content the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) saying “50 shot” on the mosque.
“I am simply heartbroken,” he stated. “Actually, I am sitting right here crying. That is New Zealand. This could’t occur right here.”
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A 3rd witness, Mohammed Nazir, instructed TVNZ he noticed three ladies shot and bleeding exterior the mosque. He instructed police that he known as the police climbed a wall to flee, leaving his footwear behind within the course of.
A witness who declined to present his title instructed Stuff the gunman was carrying a helmet and fired greater than 50 photographs.
“He had a giant gun and a variety of bullets and he got here by means of and began taking pictures like everybody within the mosque, like in every single place, and so they need to smash the door and the glass from the window and from the small door to try to get out,” he stated.
The Guardian reported that police had found a bomb in a beige Subaru that had crashed within the heart of Christchurch, roughly two miles from the mosque. The paper reported that police officers had cordoned off the road and had been protecting a secure distance from the automobile.
Christchurch, situated on New Zealand’s South Island, is the third-largest metropolis within the nation with a inhabitants of simply over 400,000. It was affected by a devastating earthquake in February 2011, which killed 185 folks and triggered the collapse of hundreds of buildings throughout town.
It is a growing story, examine again for extra updates.
The Related Press contributed to this report.