New Zealand Mosque Shootings Suspect Appears in Court

Wearing a white prison suit, Tarrant appeared handcuffed and barefoot.

The head of the New Zealand Police Association, Chris Cahill, welcomed Ardern's comments and said previous attempts to introduce gun controls had failed partly because of diehard opponents to reform.

The Jordanian citizen of Palestinian origin is reported to have moved to New Zealand five years ago and described it as "the safest place one could ever live in".

The alleged suspect Brenton Tarrant, 28, from Australia, has since appeared in court in Christchurch charged with one count of murder, however New Zealand Police said further charges were expected to follow. At least one Palestinian died, Palestine's ambassador to Australia and New Zealand said in a statement.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country will change its gun laws following the mass shootings on Friday.

Her fellow countrymen seemed to want to prove her right by volunteering acts of kindness.

Some offered lifts to the supermarket or volunteered to walk with their Muslim neighbours if they felt unsafe.

'Love always wins over hate. Kiwis stand united in our love and support for our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. An officer stopped him.

Schools across the city were placed on lockdown, as well as the Christchurch hospital.

"He had a big gun.He came and started shooting everyone in the mosque, everywhere", said the man, Ahmad Al-Mahmoud.

Leaning on the shoulders of her friend, Imran's wife Akhtar cried as she held up her mobile phone with an image of her husband. "I don't know enough about it yet".

New Zealand Mosque Shootings Suspect Appears in Court
New Zealand Mosque Shootings Suspect Appears in Court

This handout picture released by the office of New Zealand Prime Minister shows New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meeting with the representatives of the refugee centre during a visit to the Canterbury Refugee Centre in Christchurch on March 16, 2019. The couple was due to fly out Sunday.

Mourners pay their respects at a makeshift memorial near the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, March 16, 2019. They have not heard from him since.

The massacre left 41 at the Al Noor Mosque dead before the suspect journeyed to the Linwood Avenue Mosque where he killed another seven victims, one more later died in hospital.

A gunman opened fire on worshippers in two mosques in Christchurch, killing 49 people. Facebook has since taken down his account.

Worshipers ran from gunfire, desperately called police and huddled beneath the benches of two Christchurch mosques before two lightly armed community police officers apparently ran the gunman's vehicle to the side of the road and brought the atrocity to an end after a terrifying 36 minutes.

Generally semi-automatic weapons can only be bought with an E-class licenses which are much more hard to obtain. Police are investigating whether Tarrant had any terrorist links in his hometown of Grafton or its surrounding areas.

Pakistan's foreign minister says at least six Pakistanis were killed in the New Zealand mosque shootings.

The court charged a second shooter, 18, with "intent to excite hostility or ill-will".

Ansun Zhong, owner of Chong's Chinese restaurant in Christchurch City Central, said the shooting greatly affected people's life in Christchurch. The country has historically had a low homicide rate. In 2015, it had just eight gun homicides.

"While work is being done as to the chain of events that lead to both the holding of this gun license and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now - our gun laws will change", she told reporters.

She did not offer too much detail, but said a ban on semi-automatic weapons would be looked at. Residents were mandated to turn in their semi-automatic rifles and other now-outlawed weapons.

  • Jon Douglas