Christchurch terror attack: The facts

Australia shows its unity with New Zealand with its Opera House display. (Image: Gladys Berejiklian twitter)

As the world continues to mourn the deaths of 50 people in the worst mass killing in New Zealand’s history, Hatch’s Erin Christie looks at what we know so far about the Christchurch terror attack.

A man opened fire on two Christchurch mosques on Friday afternoon, killing 50 people.

The victims, which included children, were participating in worship at the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques.

Another 34 victims remained in hospital on Monday morning, fighting injuries, with 12 believed to be in a critical condition.

The alleged perpetrator, 28-year-old Australian-born Brenton Tarrant, has been charged with murder and will remain in custody until his next court appearance on April 5.

The 50th victim was found on Sunday morning during the removal of victims from the crime scenes.

The alleged gunman is believed to have acted alone.

Two other men were arrested over the weekend and charged with offences related to firearms. A woman was also initially arrested under suspicion of involvement, and released without charge.

The shooting was live-streamed online by the offender as he entered the mosques and attacked the victims.

The live stream lasted for 16 minutes and continues to be widely circulated and viewed despite attempts by Facebook to pull it down.

The modified rifles used, as seen in the video, had the names “Alexandre Bissonette” and “Luca Traini” written on them. These are the names of mosque shooters who opened fire in Canada in 2017 and Italy in 2018.

Tarrant allegedly carried out the shooting following the release of a 37-page manifesto that spoke of his intentions.

The manifesto was published online and also emailed to the office of New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, nine minutes before the attack began. She was one of more than 30 recipients of the document.

It included the ideological standpoint of the alleged gunman, and his reasoning for his actions, but did not include a location, or any other details that would have allowed police to act preventatively before the shooting began.

Ms Ardern stated:

“The fact that there was an ideological manifesto with extreme views attached to this attack … is deeply disturbing.”

She confirmed the shooter, intercepted by police 36 minutes after the emergency call was made on Friday, had “intended to continue the attack”, with two other firearms in his vehicle.

She has strongly condemned the actions of the shooter, saying on behalf of New Zealand that “you may have chosen us, but we utterly reject and condemn you.”

The event has been met with worldwide condemnation, including Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Tarrant is believed to have grown up in Grafton, New South Wales, and is now a New Zealand resident.

Mr Morrison is calling on people to band together. Many people have visited mosques across the country to show their support.

There has been an increased police presence across New Zealand and increased security at mosques around the world.

The tragedy has led to scrutiny over New Zealand’s laws surrounding firearms, with Ms Ardern stating: “I can tell you one thing right now, our gun laws will change.”

Moves to this end have already commenced.

There has been an increased police presence across New Zealand and increased security at mosques around the world.

Leaders from around the world have offered their condolences and support for New Zealand and those affected. Vigils and protests have been held worldwide in support of the victims and their families.

Australian senator Senator Fraser Anning, who blamed “fears over the increasing muslim presence” for the attack, was egged by a Melbourne teen at a press conference.

An online fundraiser was set up for 17-year-old William Connolly for “legal fees and more eggs” but after raising $40,000 the page’s founder confirmed William was “committed to sending a majority of the money to the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack”.

The government will censure Mr Anning over his comments when Parliament resumes.

Reports have begun to surface that name the victims and give the details of their deaths and their bodies are expected to be released to their families from today.