Man, 28, in court on murder charges after mosque shootings

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A 28-year-old man has appeared in court charged with murder after a terror attack at two mosques which killed 49 people in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Brenton Tarrant, whose address was given as Andersons Bay in Dunedin, attended Christchurch District Court on Saturday charged with one count of murder but police said further charges were expected to follow.

He appeared in white prison clothing, with manacled hands, and barefoot.

He smirked when media photographed him in the dock where he was flanked by two police officers.

He appeared to be making a gesture with his hands which is said to be a “white power” sign.

Tarrant is accused of murdering a man, whose name was suppressed by Judge Paul Kellar on the grounds of undue hardship to his family in Christchurch yesterday.

He was remanded in custody without plea to the High Court in Christchurch until 5 April.

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No application for bail was made.

The gunman filmed himself in his car before he carried out the attacks and also live-streamed the atrocity when he attacked the mosques packed with worshippers attending Friday prayers.

Sky News has decided not to show the video.

Man, 28, in court on murder charges after mosque shootings
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Emergency workers push a stretcher carrying a person into a hospital

The mayor of Christchurch in New Zealand says the shootings at two mosques in which at least 49 people died were an “act of cowardice” and the attacker came with “hate in his heart”.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said: “He did not develop his hatred here. He came here to perform this act of terrorism.”

She said graves are being dug for the dozens of worshippers who were shot dead and officials are working closely with the community on the specific requirements of a large number of Muslim funerals.

The mayor added: “At this time there will be a grief stricken city, but we will come back from this and continue our path of welcoming people of all nations, from all religions from all cultures to our city.”

Man, 28, in court on murder charges after mosque shootings
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In his social media posts, the suspect calls himself as Brenton Tarrant

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was “one of New Zealand’s darkest days” calling the shootings a terrorist attack and promised that New Zealand’s gun laws would be changed.

Another 20 people were seriously injured and 87 people have been taken to hospital.

The shootings happened at the al Noor mosque in central Christchurch and then the nearby Linwood mosque.

Three other people – two men and a woman – were also arrested after the attacks.

Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison confirmed one of the suspects was an Australian-born citizen.

Man, 28, in court on murder charges after mosque shootings
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The al Noor mosque was the scene of the deadliest shooting

Ms Ardern said the country had been placed on its highest security threat level.

A man who claimed he was behind one of the attacks left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto.

Scrawled on the arsenal of weapons used in the attack are the dates of historic Christian battles and the men who fought in them, names of well-known far right extremists and phrases, including “here’s your migration compact!” – an apparent reference to the Global Compact for Migration, an agreement for safe and orderly migration.

Neo-Nazi symbols are attached to an armoured vest.

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Man, 28, in court on murder charges after mosque shootings



PM: ‘One of New Zealand’s darkest days’

At a news conference, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said a number of schools had been placed on lockdown, as well as the two mosques that were targeted.

Man, 28, in court on murder charges after mosque shootings
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Al Noor mosque, Christchurch
Man, 28, in court on murder charges after mosque shootings
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Linwood mosque, Christchurch
Man, 28, in court on murder charges after mosque shootings
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Armed officers push back members of the public from the scene

The public were being urged to stay indoors, and worshippers were being told to stay away from mosques until further notice.

Mr Bush also said a number of improvised explosive devices attached to vehicles in Christchurch have been made safe.

One man who was inside the al Noor mosque – the scene of the deadliest shooting – told local media that there would normally be dozens of people worshipping inside.

Man, 28, in court on murder charges after mosque shootings
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Grieving members of the public following a shooting at the al Noor mosque

The witness, whose clothes had been splattered with blood, said the shooting lasted for about 20 minutes and said the gunman methodically went from room to room.

Man, 28, in court on murder charges after mosque shootings
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A police officer attends the scene of a mass shooting in Christchurch

He said he was one of the last people to leave the mosque – and had prayed that the gunman would run out of bullets.

“It took me half an hour before my shaking stopped,” the survivor added. “I don’t know whether my brother is safe or not.”

Man, 28, in court on murder charges after mosque shootings
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Ambulances rush to the scene of mass shootings in Christchurch

Another witness, Len Peneha, said he saw a man dressed in black enter the al Noor mosque – with people running away in terror. He also claimed that he saw the gunman flee before emergency services arrived.

Ms Ardern described the shooting as an “extraordinary unprecedented act of violence”.

Man, 28, in court on murder charges after mosque shootings
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Police are deployed in the city centre after two mosques are targeted

“Many of those affected might be migrants to New Zealand. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home.

“There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence which it is clear this act was.”

Australia’s prime minister said the country is “shocked” and “appalled” by the incident.

He told reporters on Friday: “As family members with our New Zealand cousins today, we grieve, we are shocked, we are appalled, we are outraged, and we stand here and condemn absolutely the attack that occurred today by an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.”

Man, 28, in court on murder charges after mosque shootings
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Emergency workers push a stretcher carrying a person into a hospital

Players and members of the Bangladesh cricket team’s coaching staff were reportedly on their bus and approaching the mosque for Friday prayers when the shooting broke out.

Opening batsman Tamim Iqbal tweeted: “Entire team got saved from active shooters. Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers.”

Player Mushfiqur Rahim also posted: “Alhamdulillah Allah save us today while shooting in Christchurch in the mosque. We (were) extremely lucky…never want to see this things happen again….pray for us.”

Man, 28, in court on murder charges after mosque shootings
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Police direct traffic at a road junction following the shootings

The team was in Christchurch to play New Zealand in a third cricket test starting on Saturday – but the match has now been cancelled.

Mass shootings are a rare occurrence in New Zealand, with the last being in 1990 in the small seaside town of Aramoana.

Thirteen people died in that attack, as well as gunman David Gray.