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World New Zealand shootings: What we know so far about the attacks in Christchurch

March 17, 2019: At Christchurch's Botanic Gardens, candles arranged in a heart shape burn at a memorial site for victims of the mosque shootings.

JORGE SILVA/Reuters

The latest

  • New Zealand’s Prime Minister praised mosque worshippers for their bravery on Tuesday and said the nation stood with them in their “darkest of days,” as preparations began for the first funerals of the 50 victims killed last Friday in Christchurch. Earlier this week, Jacinda Ardern also said she would announce new gun laws within days and that she supports a full ban on semi-automatic firearms.
  • “We believe absolutely there was only one attacker responsible" for the attacks on the two Christchurch mosques, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said Monday. A 28-year-old Australian white nationalist has been charged with murder, and may face further charges when he returns to court on April 5.
  • The dead came from all ages, nationalities and walks of life. The youngest was three years old. Here’s a closer look at what we know about them so far and the timeline of events leading up to their deaths.
  • By end-of-day Tuesday, an official crowdfunding page created by the New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups had drawn more than NZ$6.6-million ($6-million) in donations for shooting victims and their families.


Where, when and how it happened

Christchurch

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First shooting at Al Noor mosque

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He walks into the mosque through the front door then moves from room to room firing.

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Gunman leaves at least once to rearm.

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Gunman shoots people in the street, before driving off.

Second shooting at Linwood mosque

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THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN;

OPENSTREETMAP; BBC; new york times;

THE GUARDIAN

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First shooting at Al Noor mosque

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Gunman parks in alleyway.

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He walks into the mosque through the front door then moves from room to room firing.

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Gunman leaves at least once to rearm.

Worshippers flee through the back door into the parking lot.

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Gunman shoots people in the street, before driving off.

Second shooting at Linwood mosque

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mosque

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LINWOOD AVE.

Witnesses see a gunman on Linwood Avenue.

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Gunman shoots worshippers but is disarmed and runs away.

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THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP;

BBC; new york times; THE GUARDIAN

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Gunman parks in alleyway.

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He walks into the mosque through the front door then moves from room to room firing.

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Gunman leaves at least once to rearm.

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DEANS AVE.

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Worshippers flee through the back door into the parking lot.

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Gunman shoots people in the street, before driving off.

Second shooting at Linwood mosque

Witnesses see a gunman on

Linwood Avenue.

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Linwood

mosque

Gunman shoots

worshippers but is disarmed and runs away.

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LINWOOD AVE.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP;

BBC; new york times; THE GUARDIAN

The first shooting: At about 1:45 p.m., worshippers were gathered at Masjid Al Noor in central Christchurch for Friday prayers. Witness Len Peneha, who lives next door to the mosque, told Associated Press he saw a white man dressed in black enter the mosque. Mr. Peneha then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the building in terror. The gunman then ran out, dropped what appeared to be a semiautomatic weapon in Mr. Peneha’s driveway and fled.

The video: For 17 minutes, horrifying images of one of the attacks were broadcast using an app designed for extreme sports enthusiasts, apparently filmed using a camera strapped to the gunman’s head. The footage was then shared on Facebook and other social-media platforms for hours afterward. The footage showed him inside the mosque spraying terrified worshippers with bullets. He then is then seen walking outside to the street, shooting at people on the sidewalk, walking back into the mosque, walking back outside and shooting a woman there, and then entering a car, where the song Fire by British rock band The Crazy World of Arthur Brown can be heard blasting from the speakers. The video cuts out as the gunman drives away. Facebook later took the video down and deleted the suspect’s accounts after being alerted by police.

The second shooting: By about 1:55, the shooter arrived at Linwood Masjid across town. Seven people were killed at the scene, and an eighth later died in hospital. One man, 48-year-old Abdul Aziz, ran outside to distract the gunman while his family was still inside: Mr. Aziz hurled a credit-card machine (the first object he could find) at the gunman, then picked up one of his fallen guns and threw it at his car, shattering its window. “That’s why he got scared," Mr. Aziz said, and the gunman drove away. Soon after, police forced the car from the road and apprehended the gunman. Mr. Aziz was later hailed as a hero for his actions, which likely prevented more deaths.

The explosives: Christchurch’s police commissioner said officers found two improvised explosive devices in a car, a clarification from an earlier statement that there were devices in multiple vehicles.

The victims

The death toll so far is 50, 42 of whom died at Masjid Al Noor. Seven died at the scene in the Linwood attack and another died later in hospital. About as many people were treated for gunshot wounds in Christchurch hospitals. The list of casualties included immigrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. The youngest was a three-year-old boy. One was a 71-year-old refugee from the Soviet-Afghan war. Here’s a closer look at some of the dead and wounded who’ve been identified so far.

Health officials said 48 people were treated at Christchurch Hospital for gunshot wounds. The governments of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia and Turkey confirmed that some of their citizens were among those hurt. Injuries ranged from minor to critical. One person’s leg had to be amputated and another has gunshot wounds to his chest, the Bangladeshi consul said.

The suspect

March 16: The suspect makes a sign to the camera during his appearance in the Christchurch District Court.

MARK MITCHELL/AFP/Getty Images

By the weekend, police had established only one man was responsible for the attacks, though New Zealand’s Police Commissioner wouldn’t rule out whether he had had help. In the immediate aftermath of the shootings, three others were arrested, and one was charged with firearms offences, but police said they were not connected with the attack.

Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, is charged with murder. Shortly before the attack, he posted a muddled, 74-page-long “manifesto” to the forum site 8chan. It cited “white genocide,” a term typically used by racist groups to refer to immigration and the growth of minority populations, as his motivation. On Wednesday, a Twitter account under Mr. Tarrant’s name tweeted pictures of one of the guns later used in the attacks. It was covered in white lettering, featuring the names of others who had committed race- or religion-based killings; Cyrillic, Armenian and Georgian references to historical figures and events; and the phrase: “Here’s Your Migration Compact.” The number “14” was written on the side of the rifle as well, a reference to the 14 words,” a white supremacist mantra.

Mass shootings in context

Gun laws: Mass shootings, and violent crimes in general, are rare in New Zealand and police do not usually carry guns. The deadliest mass killing in modern history occurred in the small town of Aramoana in 1990, when gunman David Gray shot and killed 13 people after a dispute with a neighbour. But gun culture is still deeply ingrained in New Zealand – in a country of only five million people, there are an estimated 1.5 million firearms – and the attacker’s ability to buy guns in New Zealand has raised new questions about whether licensing restrictions are tough enough.

Islamophobic violence: The New Zealand attacks are one of many in recent years in which extremists have targeted houses of worship. It’s been just over two years since Canada saw one such attack in Quebec City, where a white gunman killed six men in a mosque and wounded many others. That gunman, who was not charged with terrorism offences, eventually pleaded guilty to murder charges and was sentenced earlier this year to life in prison, with no chance of parole for 40 years. The Quebec City mosque and other Muslim communities in Canada joined in the global outpouring of grief over the New Zealand attacks. “I’m convinced they are feeling a terrible pain," Boufeldja Benabdallah, the head of the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre, told The Canadian Press. "Imagine the children of those families here in Quebec who are hearing it on the radio and will watch their mothers cry and ask, ‘Why are you crying?’ ” Mr. Benabdallah added that amid the mourning, it is time for people to speak out against extremism and for lawmakers to legislate against it.

‘It revives the pain’: How New Zealand attack shook survivors of the Quebec mosque shooting

New Zealand’s reaction

The events in Christchurch represented “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Friday, adding that “it is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack.” She announced that the national security threat level was being raised from low to high, the second-highest level. Police asked all mosques in New Zealand to shut their doors.

Days after the attacks, Ms. Ardern’s cabinet met and reached an agreement-in-principle on gun-control laws that the Prime Minister said would make New Zealanders safer. She says she supports a ban on semiautomatic weapons like the one in the gunman’s home country, Australia, which introduced some of the world’s toughest gun laws in the 1990s after a mass killing involving an AR-15, the same semiautomatic weapon used in the Christchurch massacres.

The global reaction

Queen Elizabeth II

Canadian government

Canadian opposition leaders

Canadian provincial premiers

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

U.S. President Donald Trump

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan

Comment and analysis

Amira Elghawaby: No one should be this afraid to practise their faith

Sheema Khan: Christchurch once again shows we all have a role to play against the spread of hate

Shaista Aziz: The Christchurch massacre did not happen in a vacuum

Jessica Davis: Canada is not doing enough to combat right-wing terrorism

Compiled by Globe staff

Associated Press and Reuters, with reports from Globe staff and The Canadian Press

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