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Mosque shooting: Shots fired near Hagley Park in Christchurch – Newstalk ZB

Mosque shooting: Shots fired near Hagley Park in Christchurch – Newstalk ZB

KEY POINTS:

• Dozens feared dead as at least two gunmen open fire at two central Christchurch mosques

• City in lockdown, with reports of a third shooting scene and a car bomb in Strickland St

• One gunman, believed to be Australian, filmed as he shot victims in the mosque – and wrote a manifesto declaring his intentions

• Teen witness: “I just ran as fast as I could, over the fence to Hagley Park, I didn’t stop. The gunshots sounded like pop, pop, pop…I heard over 50.”

• A man wearing military clothing has been arrested outside Papanui High School

Gunmen have opened fire at mosques in Christchurch, with reports of between nine and 27 people killed. Four people are in custody – three men and one woman.

School lockdowns across Christchurch have been lifted, according to Police.

Police are reassuring the public they have a large presence in the city and community safety is their priority.

All Countdown, Freshchoice and Supervalue supermarkets in Christchurch remain in lockdown.

A store worker says they evacuated all customers at their store before locking down the building.

The Police Commissioner Mike Bush said “there have been some absolute acts of bravery” in the arrests of the four attackers.

A number of IEDs that were attached to vehicles in Christchurch have been defused.

Bush said there were multiple casualties – a “significant” amount.

“This is absolutely tragic. So many people are affected.

“We don’t have the identities of those who have died yet because those places are in lockdown.”

He said he would not assume there aren’t other attackers.

Bush said he was aware that footage of the Al Noor Mosque shooting was on social media and police were doing everything they could to get it removed.

“It shouldn’t be in the public domain.”

“We are currently dealing with an unprecedented situation in New Zealand. It’s very grave, it’s very serious.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.

A body has been seen lying near Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and a second gunman has been seen near Linwood Masjid mosque.

One of the gunmen broadcast live as he shot victims.

One of the gunmen is believed to be an Australian who has written a manifesto declaring his intentions.

In it, he says “it is a terrorist attack.”

People wait outside a mosque in central Christchurch. Photo / AP
People wait outside a mosque in central Christchurch. Photo / AP

Ardern described the event as “extreme and unprecedented violence”.

Police were “actively managing the situation”.

She will be flying to Wellington where she will speak with agents as soon as she lands.

“I’m not currently in a position to confirm the number of deaths or injuries,” Ardern said.

“This is and will be one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”

Ardern looked to be struggling to keep her emotions in check as she spoke.

The multiple fatalities were at two locations – a mosque at Deans Ave and one at Linwood Ave.

There are reports of a third active shooting unfolding outside Christchurch Hospital.

A Christchurch Star reporter saw a dead body lying close at Palazzo Lane near Al Noor Mosque.

People stand across the road from a mosque in central Christchurch. Photo / AP
People stand across the road from a mosque in central Christchurch. Photo / AP

The body has been covered with clothing.

A witness has seen a child lying in the middle of Deans Ave and another man has told the Herald his relative was shot inside the mosque.

It is understood the shooting at the mosque lasted six minutes and that the shooter may have returned to his car to retrieve more ammunition before opening fire again.

A large cordon has blocked off Strickland St around 3km from the Hagley mosque shooting.

A local man said a white van is at the centre of police focus. They believe a bomb is suspected to be inside.

A Christchurch woman has reported watching a man being arrested on Harrow Street.

Images captured of the scene show a man being apprehended by a police officer. Two police cars are stationed nearby, blocking off the street.

“I saw people drop dead in front of me.”

A man, who would only be known as Nour, who crawled to safety amid the carnage of the shooting has told Christchurch Star of what happened.

Nour in the front row of prayers when the gunman came in.

“First he shot people outside. Then he came in the front,” he said.

He heard the gun being reloaded about three times.

The gunman began shooting in all directions.

A man rests on the ground as he speaks on his mobile phone across the road from mosque in central Christchurch. Photo / AP
A man rests on the ground as he speaks on his mobile phone across the road from mosque in central Christchurch. Photo / AP

“I saw people drop dead in front of me. I was crawling to get away.”

“It was hitting the walls,” he said.

Nour crawled across the floor of the mosque to a window that had been broken by others as they fled and jumped trough it.

He jumped over a neighbouring wall. He ran around the block and he could still hear shooting.

Mohan Ibrahim described to the Herald running for his life to escape the gunman. He was one of 200 people in Christchurch’s Masjid Al Noor mosque when he heard shots being fired.

“At first we thought it was an electric shock but then all these people started running.”

Police hold a suspect down on the ground. Photo / Kurt Bayer
Police hold a suspect down on the ground. Photo / Kurt Bayer

He said there had been lots of people killed and many injured.

“I still have friends inside.

“I have been calling my friends but there are many I haven’t heard from. I am scared for my friends lives.”

He said there had been lots of people killed and many injured.

A man who took in people who escaped from the mosque has shared their description of the gunman.

He was white, aged in his 30s or 40s and wearing a uniform, but he had not been able to ascertain what the uniform was, Oakford Close resident Robert Weatherhead said.

“[They said] ‘he had a lot of magazines strapped to his legs’,” Weatherhead said.

A man who was in Al Noor Mosque during a shooting says it was absolutely full for noon prayers. He believed many have been killed.

Police at the shooting in Christchurch. Photo / Supplied
Police at the shooting in Christchurch. Photo / Supplied

A woman told the Christchurch Star she lay in her car near the mosque as four to five men came running towards her.

She was unsure if they were gunmen. Moments earlier she heard what she thought was gunfire.

“When the noise got louder I saw four or five men running. I put my seat down and lay down so they wouldn’t see me.

“I didn’t think I’d live to see this happening in my country,” she said.

Zinzan Hawke, who lives near Al Noor Mosque, said he was sleeping when he work to 20-40 gun shots and a man running into his house with a bullet wound 3 inches into his leg.

Hawke with his three flat mates, who live on Brockworth Pl, called an ambulance and applied pressure on the victim’s leg.

The victim told Hawke that he had just been at the mosque, multiple shots were fired and fled the scene immediately looking for assistant .

He said the victim didn’t see the armed gunman, but heard bullets ringing around.

Hawke said that the victim told him he was almost shot in the stomach.

“I didn’t realise something of this maginitue could happen in New Zealand,” Hawke said.

Hawke said the ambulance never arrived so one of his flat mates drove the victim to hospital.

Second shooting at mosque in Linwood

A second shooting happened at a mosque in the Linwood area of the city.

One Friday prayer goer returned fire with a rifle or shotgun.

Witnesses said they heard multiple gunshots around 1.45pm.

A well known Muslim local chased the shooters and fired two shots at them as they sped off.

He was heard telling police officers he was firing in “self defence”.

“They were in a silver Subaru,” he told police.

Mark Nichols, manager of Premium Tyres and Auto in Linwood, said he a gunman ran past his shop around 45 minutes ago.

He heard five gunshots, and he believed the activity was centred around the nearby Linwood Masjid mosque.

He saw two injured people carried on stretchers past his shop. Both appeared to be alive.

“I seen a guy with a gun running up the road. He’s been firing about five shots, I think we heard,” Nichols said.

“It might have been a shotgun. I didn’t get a good luck at it, I just cleared off.

“Apparently there have been people in the mosque shot, and a police officer’s been shot too.

“It’s not very good, we’re in shutdown mode now. It’s all cordoned off.”

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Christchurch resident Mandy Rooney was trapped in her car within metres of a mosque in Bishopdale.

She said she tried to get out of the car to see what was going on but was ordered back into her vehicle by armed police.

“They have their guns up and are walking around scoping through them,” she said.

Rooney said no one was being allowed to move from the street.

“It is chaos. People have been trying to drive away and are just crashing into other vehicles.”

A witness told the Herald he had seen a body in a carpark at Papanui High School.

Papanui High School, which is north of where both incidents occurred, is in lockdown.

The receptionist said staff were hiding under their desks, and she could not comment on any activity nearby.

A man wearing military clothing has been arrested outside Papanui High School.

Armed police on Langdons Road in Papanui. Photo / Broadcast Media
Armed police on Langdons Road in Papanui. Photo / Broadcast Media

Injured people are still being rushed to Christchurch Hospital.

There is a large police presence at the hospital with many armed officers.

The New Zealand National Front has said it the events in Christchurch do not involve the organisation, nor its members.

“The National Front does not condone or agree with this type of wanton murder of innocent people regardless of their religious beliefs.

“We believe in freedom of speech and freedom to worship whatever god you chose.”

The University of Canterbury is in lock down. They say people are to stay inside until police give clearance.

Two Christchurch shopping malls are also in lockdown.

Shoppers and retail assistants at Westfield Riccarton and Northlands Mall are being told no one is allowed to leave.

The city centre is like a ghost town as police hunt the shooters.

Heavily armed police, including special units, are speeding around the empty streets with lights and sirens wailing.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said her message to people is to stay away from the central city.

“If you are in the city please stay in the building you are in,” she said.

“All Council buildings are in lock down and they’re urging all central city building owners to do the same, until advised by the Police they can leave.”

Armed police can be seen on central Christchurch streets. Photo / Jacob Savage
Armed police can be seen on central Christchurch streets. Photo / Jacob Savage

“I heard at least 20 [gunshots]”

Benjamin Jellie said he ran outside when he heard gunshots.

“I saw people jumping over the back fence of the mosque into Oakward Close. I heard at least 20 [gunshots].”

“I heard about eight at the start and then it went quiet for about 30 seconds or a minute and then it started again. I heard about eight more and then there was another minute and another eight,” Jellie said.

“Those coming over the fence, all adults and including at least three men, were screaming and crying.”

He believed the injured were all conscious.

The injured were very quiet, Jellie said.

The Bangladesh cricket team was at the mosque for Friday prayer when the shooting started.

A taxi driver in Deans Ave told Newstalk ZB that a jogger in the park said shots had been fired inside the mosque.

“Police and ambulance are coming from every direction”.

Deans Ave has been closed between Moorhouse Avenue and Riccarton Road. Road users are advised to avoid the area.

In Cathedral Square, at the climate protest a police officer asked for everyone to make their way home immediately.

The police officer said there had been an incident and students should go straight home.

The public should not attend Christchurch Hospital unless it’s an emergency, a Canterbury DHb spokeswoman said.

“All appointments have been cancelled this afternoon, and no staff or patients are to enter or leave the building.”

Police confirmed at 2.41pm that all Christchurch schools had been placed into lockdown.

St Margaret’s College told parents not to contact the school as “the phones are currently closed”.

“All students are safe and those who are on the Climate Strike have been taken to a safe area by the staff accompanying them.”

Air New Zealand is offering flexibility to customers booked to fly to or from Christchurch today, in the wake of the shooting.

The airline will waive any fare change fees, should people need to make alternative travel arrangements.

Air New Zealand is also offering its support to Emergency Services managing the incident in Christchurch.

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