New Zealanders Warned to Stay Away from Mosques After Shootings at Two Mosques Leave Multiple People Dead

Ambulance staff take a man from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Ambulance staff take a man from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

The Latest on shootings at mosques in New Zealand (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

Police have warned people to avoid mosques anywhere in New Zealand following two shootings with multiple fatalities at two mosques in Christchurch.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said anyone thinking of going to a mosque should stay put and close their doors.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a Friday afternoon news conference that one suspect was in custody but “there could be others involved.”

A man who lives near the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch said many people were dead there. A witness to a second shooting told New Zealand media he saw two wounded people being transported by rescuers afterward.

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4:10 p.m.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says following fatal shootings at two mosques in Christchurch it is “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”

Police said there were multiple fatalities and one person was in custody, but no details were immediately available.

Ardern said at a Friday afternoon news conference, “what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”

She said while many people affected may be migrants or refugees “they have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”

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3:45 p.m.

New Zealand media say a shooting has occurred in a second mosque in the city of Christchurch.

No details were immediately available.

Earlier Friday afternoon, police had urged people to stay indoors as authorities responded to a shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque.

A neighbor described mass casualties inside the mosque and said he saw the gunman flee.

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3 p.m.

A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

Police have not described the scale of the Friday shooting but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors.

Witness Len Peneha says he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.

He says he also saw the gunman flee before emergency services arrived

Peneha says he went into the mosque to try and help: “I saw dead people everywhere.”

SOURCE: AP