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New Zealand Shooting Live Updates: A Suspect Is Charged, and Details Emerge About Victims

Category: Asia,World

• New Zealand grappled with grief and horror on Saturday, a day after 49 people were shot to death at two mosques in the city of Christchurch. The terrorist attack appeared to have been carried out by a white nationalist who posted a racist manifesto online and streamed live video of the killings on Facebook.

• A 28-year-old man from Australia was charged with murder and appeared Saturday morning in a Christchurch courtroom. Court papers identified him as Brenton Harrison Tarrant. The New Zealand police said he would face additional charges. A second man, 18, was charged with “intent to excite hostility or ill-will.”

• Minutes before the shooting began on Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was emailed a copy of the manifesto purported to be from the gunman, her office said. Many news outlets and lawmakers also received the email.

• Ms. Ardern said many of those killed were the breadwinners in their families, and that the government would help those who had been left without income. She made the remarks after arriving in Christchurch on Saturday and visiting with victims and their families.

New Zealand’s police commissioner, Mike Bush, provided new details of the attack on Friday night, saying that 41 people had been killed at Al Noor mosque, in the center of the city, and seven at Linwood mosque, about three miles away. Another victim died at Christchurch Hospital, he said.

David Meates, the chief executive of the Canterbury District Health Board, said that 48 people, including young children, were being treated for injuries at the hospital. Mr. Bush said on Saturday morning that two of them were in critical condition.

The police said on Friday that three men and one woman had been taken into custody, but Mr. Bush lowered the total number to three on Saturday morning, indicating that someone had been released.

In a Christchurch courtroom that was closed to the public for security reasons, police officers in bulletproof vests brought in Brenton Harrison Tarrant, who has been charged with one count of murder in connection with the massacre. The police said he would face additional charges.

Mr. Tarrant, 28, short with thinning brown hair, handcuffed and wearing white prison clothing, looked around the courtroom but said nothing as District Court Judge Paul Kellar ordered him held for a further hearing on April 5.

Regional officials have said that Mr. Tarrant is an Australian citizen. Court papers listed his New Zealand address as Dunedin City, which is about 280 miles south of Christchurch.

Richard Peters, his court-appointed lawyer, said Mr. Tarrant had indicated he might represent himself. Asked how Mr. Tarrant had reacted to what he is facing, Mr. Peters said, “He seemed to be quite aware of where he is and what he’s doing.”

At the same time the charging document for Mr. Tarrant was handed out to reporters, a second court filing was distributed that said Daniel John Burrough, 18, of Christchurch, had been charged with “intent to excite hostility or ill-will.” Court officials would not elaborate on how the two cases were related, if at all.

In addition to Mr. Tarrant, three other people were arrested in connection with the attacks, although one was apparently released. Few details have been offered about them.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was among dozens of lawmakers and media who were emailed a white nationalist manifesto purportedly from the gunman minutes before the shootings began on Friday, her office said.

Andrew Campbell, a spokesman for Ms. Ardern, said a generic email address for the prime minister was among about 70 to which the email was sent. The “vast majority” of the recipients were media outlets, and others were lawmakers, he said on Saturday.

Mr. Campbell said he believed the document was the same one that has been circulating online since the attacks. He said action was taken “almost immediately” according to protocol, “by sending it to parliamentary security, who then would pass it on the police.” He did not specify whether the email had been seen or forwarded before the shooting began.

Many of the people killed in the attacks were the breadwinners in their families, Ms. Ardern said after meeting with victims’ relatives on Saturday.

The victims were “predominantly from the ages of 20 to 60ish — and a large number of men,” Ms. Ardern told reporters at Hagley College, a school near the hospital where family members were gathering. But The New Zealand Herald reported that a 14-year old boy was among those killed at Al Noor mosque.

Ms. Ardern said a government compensation system would help families left without income. In the meantime, mosques will continue to receive police protection, she said.

“The commissioner has advised that police security will continue at mosques around New Zealand until it is determined that it is no longer a threat,” she said, referring to the country’s police commissioner, Mike Bush.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Ardern promised changes to the country’s gun laws. She said the attacker had obtained a gun license in November and that five guns were used in the attack, including two semiautomatic weapons.

“Our gun laws will change, now is the time,” Ms. Ardern said, without elaborating on what such legislation might look like. “People will be seeking change, and I am committed to that.”

A 17-minute video that was streamed live on Facebook shows part of the attack.

The clip, which appeared to have been taken from a helmet camera worn by the gunman, begins behind the wheel of a car. A man, whose face can occasionally be seen in the rearview mirror, drives through the streets of Christchurch before pulling up in front of Al Noor mosque, beside the sprawling Hagley Park.

[Read more about the suspect, who seems to have been performing for, and inspired by, social media.]

He approaches the mosque on foot, his weapon visible, and begins shooting at people at the entrance. What follows is nearly two harrowing minutes of his firing on worshipers.

At one point, the gunman exits the mosque and fires in both directions down the sidewalk before returning to his car for another gun — which, like the others, was inscribed with numbers, symbols or messages. When he re-enters the mosque, he shoots several bodies at close range.

After another few minutes, he returns to his vehicle and drives away.

“There wasn’t even time to aim, there was so many targets,” he says at one point, as the sirens of an emergency response vehicle blare in the background.

Families are mourning loved ones, and the city of Christchurch is preparing to bury its dead. As news trickles out about the victims of the massacre, their nationalities are beginning to emerge.

Though officials have not released the names of those killed, a list of the missing has been published online by the New Zealand Red Cross. It includes people from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

At least three people from Bangladesh were killed, and another two from Jordan, according to local news reports. Five people from Pakistan are missing, and several others were injured, officials in Pakistan confirmed. Other foreign ministries around the world said their citizens were caught up in the attack, including three people from Turkey.

President Trump, who was mentioned as a source of inspiration in the manifesto believed to have been posted by the gunman, rejected suggestions that white nationalism is a rising menace.

“I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems,” he told reporters in Washington in response to a question. “If you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s the case. I don’t know enough about it yet. But it’s certainly a terrible thing.”

Asked if he had seen the manifesto, Mr. Trump said: “I did not see it, but I think it’s a horrible event, it’s a horrible thing. I saw it early in the morning when I looked at what was happening, and we spoke, as you know, to the prime minister. I think it’s a horrible disgraceful thing, horrible act.”

The Australian government has banned the conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos from entering Australia for a planned tour this year, officials said on Saturday, citing his comments about the Christchurch attack.

Authorities in Australia were urged to ban the far-right commentator following his remarks about the massacre, in which he described Islam as a “barbaric” and “alien” religious culture.

“Mr. Yiannopoulos’s comments on social media regarding the Christchurch terror attack are appalling and foment hatred and division,” David Coleman, Australia’s minister for immigration, citizenship and multicultural affairs, said in a statement on Saturday.

“The terrorist attack in Christchurch was carried out on Muslims peacefully practicing their religion,” Mr. Coleman continued, adding, “It was an act of pure evil.”

The decision came after Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, denounced remarks made by a senator, Fraser Anning, who said on Friday that the “real cause” of the bloodshed was Muslim immigration. On Saturday, a teenager hit Mr. Anning with an egg in Melbourne, according to news reports.

Attacks on mosques and Muslim religious leaders in the West have increased in recent years, according to data from the Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland. North America, Europe and Oceania saw 128 such attacks from 2010 through 2017, the latest year of available data.

Terrorist attacks on other religious institutions, such as churches and synagogues, totaled 213 over the same period.

Over the last 18 months, tech companies have promised stronger safeguards to ensure that violent content is not distributed through their sites. But those new safeguards were not enough to stop the posting of the video and manifesto believed to be related to Friday’s shooting.

A 17-minute video that included graphic footage apparently of the shooting could be found on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram more than an hour after being posted. While Facebook and Twitter took down pages thought to be linked to the gunman, the posted content was spread rapidly through other accounts.

In order to evade detection, people appeared to be cropping the video or posting the text of the manifesto as an image — techniques used to evade automated systems that find and delete content.

Social media companies have heavily invested in those systems, with Facebook reporting last year that more than 99 percent of terrorism content by the Islamic State and Al Qaeda was found and removed through artificial intelligence.

A Facebook spokeswoman offered condolences to the victims and said the company was “removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware.”

YouTube said it had taken down thousands of videos related to the shooting, and asked users to help flag videos. A spokeswoman for Reddit said it was also trying to remove “any content containing links to the video stream or the manifesto.”

Still, the tech companies were sharply criticized by Senator Cory Booker, a Democratic candidate for president, who said in New Hampshire on Friday that it was “unacceptable” for the companies to give “a platform to hate.”

Nasreen Hanif, a spokeswoman for the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand, said the country’s Muslims were anxious for updates.

[For Muslims in New Zealand and abroad, the massacre has drawn outrage as a brazen act of hatred borne of anti-Muslim sentiment.]

Ms. Hanif said the two mosques in Christchurch had asked for help from the rest of New Zealand’s Muslims to arrange 49 funerals.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said that three Turkish citizens were wounded in the attack; the Palestine Liberation Organization’s ambassador to New Zealand said at least one Palestinian was killed; and the group Syrian Solidarity New Zealand said on its Facebook page that “Syrian refugees, including children, have been shot today.”


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