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A total of 49 people were killed in the mosque attacks on Friday. The massacre has stunned residents, not just because it happen
ed there but also because it was planned to show the world that even the most peaceful places are not immune to terror.
Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with one count of murder. Two other peo
ple remain in police custody. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
Khan wasn’t the only member of his family touched by the shootings. A few blocks away
, at the Al Noor mosque, Khan’s uncle is believed to be one of 41 people gunned down there while praying.
On Saturday, families waited patiently as officials worked to identify bodies. Yet while confirmation will bring some closure, questio
ns will linger as to how such a horrifying event can happen in a country many consider safe.
”We felt it was such a safe city, such a safe country,” a 30-year-
old construction project manager, who did not want to be named, told CNN. “The hatred has spread everywhere.”
wake of the Christchurch tragedy, laying flowers and messages of support on the side of Hagley Park, close to the Al Noor mosque.
A makeshift memorial grew in the center of the main street, below traffic lights that flashed orange to indicate roads leading to the mosque were closed.
No one was allowed to approach the building, not even local home owner Sue Harrison, whose c
ar was still parked in the driveway of her property behind the Deans Avenue mosque.
Christchurch resident Sue Harrison heard the gunshots from her house, near to the Al
Noor mosque, and called the police. Her son Zin (right) called her to check she was alright.
She remembers listening to the soothing chant of afternoo
n prayers when it was broken by gunshots. Harrison called the police and hid inside her
house as the gunman worked his way through the mosque, shooting as many people as he could.
”The time the shots were happening, it was terrifying, absolutely terrifying,” Har
rison said. “There was almost an immediate feeling that they’re being targeted.”
At least 49 people were killed and 20 seriously injured in two mass shootings at mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
The victims: Forty-one people were killed at the al Noor mosque. Seven people died at the Linwood mosque, and one person died from their injuries in hospital.
The suspect: Police said a male in his late 20s has been charged with murder and will appear at the Christchurch court Saturday morning local time.
The manifesto: In a social media post just before the attack, an account that is believed to belong to one of the attackers posted a l
ink to an 87-page manifesto that was filled with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim ideas and explanations for an attack. The manifesto was not signed.
National security advisor John Bolton expanded upon the White House’s statement on the
attack on New Zealand mosques, which he characterized as “what seems to be a terrorist attack” and a “hate crime.”
Bolton said the US is “very concerned” and is following the events “very closely.”
“We’re obviously greatly disturbed on what seems to be a terror attack, this hate crime in New Zealand. We’ve been in touch
with our embassy overnight, we’re still getting details, but the State Department and others are following up on it.”
Bolton continued, “We’re very concerned, we’re going to cooperate with New Zealand authori
ties to the extent we can if there’s any role we can play, but we’re obviously following the events there very closely.”