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Christchurch Shooting

Police+stand+outside+a+mosque+in+Linwood%2C+Christchurch%2C+New+Zealand%2C+Friday%2C+March+15%2C+2019.+Multiple+people+were+killed+during+shootings+at+two+mosques+full+of+people+attending+Friday+prayers.+%28AP+Photo%2FMark+Baker%29
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Christchurch Shooting

Police stand outside a mosque in Linwood, Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed during shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Police stand outside a mosque in Linwood, Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed during shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Mark Baker

Police stand outside a mosque in Linwood, Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed during shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Mark Baker

Mark Baker

Police stand outside a mosque in Linwood, Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed during shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Alex Kim, Staff Writer

On Mar. 15, 50 people were killed and 50 more injured during prayer in two consecutive terrorist shootings at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christwood, New Zealand. One suspect–Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year old alt-right white supremacist–was taken into custody and charged for murder.

The first attack occurred at 1:40 p.m. at the Al Noor Mosque, where more than 200 people were attending Jumu’ah, a prayer on Friday. Through a disturbing Facebook video, the gunman reportedly attempted to live-stream the attack, and moments before the shooting, a worshipper was shown greeting him, saying “Hello, brother” before becoming one of the first victims. After firing for several minutes in the mosque, the assailant was seen entering for the second time with a new weapon, and later shooting attendees and civilians outside before escaping the scene.

The second shooting at Linwood Islamic Centre began at 1:55 p.m. about three miles from Al Noor. Eight people were killed outside the mosque, but before the gunman could enter, worshipper Abdul Aziz Wahabzadah, who was praying with his four sons, confronted him. “I just wanted to scare him so he doesn’t come inside,” Wahabzadah told CNN. As the armed man retreated, Wahabzadah threw and hit him with a credit card reader, the closest thing he could find. Using cars and the fence as cover, he continued to chase the man and picked up an empty shotgun that the gunman had dropped. As the attacker got into his car, Wahabzadah hurled the shotgun and shattered the car window, causing the man to drive away and later get arrested by the police responding to the shooting. Later, explosive devices were found in a car and defused by the Defense Force.

After the attack, police warned all mosques nationwide to shut their doors and worked quickly to remove the live stream video. Although one suspect has been detained, authorities are not ruling out the possibility of others involved in the seemingly “well-planned” attack. Moments before the shooting, an 87-page Manifesto was sent to the prime minister and posted on social media. It contained anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim statements that seem to be motives for the attack.

Later, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared to speak on the terrorist shootings. “We were chosen because we represent diversity, kindness compassion, a home for those who share our values, refuge for those who need it and those values, I can assure you, will not and cannot be shaken by this attack,” she said. In addition, she announced that a discussion with the cabinet would take place for possible changes to gun laws.

Thus, on Monday, Mar. 18, Arden confirmed that the ministers had agreed “in principle” to reform the gun laws of New Zealand. It will not be a simple feat as the country does not register about 96 percent of their firearms, and it is estimated that there are currently 1.5 million guns in the country, which means about one in every three people owns one. Still, Arden has promised to work out the details and tighten the nation’s gun control.

Currently, the situation continues to develop as authorities are still investigating the case. Other countries have begun to enforce security around their mosques, and many leaders have since responded to the tragedy. People from all over the world are holding vigils and grieving for all those who were lost.

Photo courtesy of CNN.COM

 

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