Christchurch mosque shootings: Jacinda Ardern praises police who captured accused gunman

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17 March, 2019

Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year old Australian citizen, accused of killing at least 49 people at two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand appeared in a District Court on Saturday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the shooter, an Australian native, had chosen to strike in New Zealand "because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion".

Ardern said the main suspect was a licensed gun owner who used five weapons during his rampage, including two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns.

The tragic attack saw 41 people killed at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch, whilst seven others were killed at the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque, and one person died later at Christchurch Hospital.

Tarrant was one of three people arrested in connection with the shootings.

Among the gun laws that had to change, Ardern said tighter restrictions were needed on the modification of guns that were undertaken in yesterday's attack.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also condemned the fatal shootings, saying the attack on people during prayers is "absolutely appalling".

A woman who lost her husband during Friday's mass shootings cries outside an information center for families, Saturday, March 16, 2019, in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Despite mentioning Roof, it was Breivik, who her referred to as "Knight Justiciar Breivik", as a person he "took true inspiration from", wrote Tarrant. The judge said "it was reasonable to assume" more such charges would follow.

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

In 2014, police estimated there were up to 1.2 million legal firearms in civilian ownership, or around one for every four members of the public - twice the per capita number of guns in Australia.

Immigrants "have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home", Ardern said.

Tarrant was remanded without a plea until his next scheduled appearance in the South Island city's High Court on April 5.

At least one of the weapons used by Tarrant was reportedly an AR-15 - the same semi-automatic rifle used in a number of mass shootings in the United States, including the 2012 Sandy Hook school killings in CT.

Nine people from India or of Indian origin have gone missing, the Indian envoy in New Zealand has said. "I still don't know where he is", she said.

Mr Taylor, 27, left Aberdeen to travel to New Zealand as part of a trip to see more of the world. His father Mohammed Elayyan, wounded in the attack, co-founded one of the mosques in 1993. "But I can't say any more than that", said Bush at a Christchurch press conference on Saturday.

Officials said that he had no criminal history in New Zealand or Australia and, as with the other two peolpe detained in connection with the attack, had not drawn the attention of the intelligence community for extremist views.

However, more than 400 people were at the Al Noor Majid Mosque in Christchurch at the time of the shooting.

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