Police confirm 49 people dead in Christchurch mosque terror attacks, man charged with murder

Source: 1News

1 NEWS' live updates as mass shootings takes place at two Christchurch mosques leaving at least 49 people dead.

New Zealand flag at half mast over Parliament.

10:15pm: This concludes 1 NEWS' live online coverage of the Christchurch terror attacks.

The Breakfast team will be hosting coverage tomorrow from 7am and online coverage will begin first thing in the morning.

Key points:  Police confirm there are 49 people dead in the attack, 41 people were killed in the Deans Ave mosque, with seven killed at the Linwood mosque.

Another person died in hospital.

A 28-year-old man has been charged with murder and is due to appear in the Christchurch District Court tomorrow morning.

Two others remain in custody.

Another person was arrested earlier today however that was not related to these events.

The number of those being treated in hospital has been updated to 48 people.

10:05pm:  Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has slammed "disgusting" remarks by a Senator blaming NZ immigration policy for the Christchurch terror attack.

10:00pm: The Government has just sent out a notification to fly all New Zealand flags at half-mast to honour the victims of the attacks.

9:45pm: There are still a number of road closures in place in Christchurch this evening after the attacks.

9:25pm:  Police wish to notify the public of the Restoring Family Links (RFL) website where people can register missing persons or register themselves as alive.

Police say they have asked the Red Cross to activate the website due to "the serious firearms incident in Christchurch."

9:17pm:  A man in his late 20s has been charged with murder according to police.

9:08pm:  Police Commissioner Mike Bush says 49 people have died in the attacks.

The terrorist attack at Deans Ave mosque killed 41 people and the attack at the Linwood mosque left seven dead.

Another person has died in hospital to bring the total number to 49.

9:00pm: Those in the UK are just waking up to the news which is dominating headlines around the world.

"On behalf of the UK, my deepest condolences to the people of New Zealand after the horrifying terrorist attack in Christchurch. My thoughts are with all of those affected by this sickening act of violence," British PM Theresa May has tweeted.

8:44pm:  Yasmin Ali is waiting for her aunt to come out from hiding near one of the mosques so she can go and visit her husband who was shot.

They don’t know his status.

Yasmin watched the shooters live stream and told 1 NEWS "I watched him shoot a man who is like my granddad. He shot us like we are animals".

8:30pm:  Victim Support has launched an official Givealittle page for support of Christchurch shooting victims.

The page already has over $7,000 in donations.

8:25pm:  Police Commissioner Mike Bush will speak to media at 9pm this evening to provide an update on the mosque attacks.

8:20pm:  Famous Cantabrian Jason Gunn has spoken to 1 NEWS saying he normally parks outside the Deans Ave mosque near Hagley Park every Saturday morning to drop his son off for cricket.

Gunn says it's "very emotional" the tragedy has taken place.

8:15pm:  Police and the NZ Defence Force carried out a controlled explosion of two bags left in Auckland's Britomart this evening.

It was a precautionary measure and the bags were found to only contain scaffolding equipment.

8:05pm: Canterbury District Health Board have just released a number for people to call if they need counselling.

"The events of today in Christchurch are distressing.

"If you or someone you know needs mental wellbeing support or advice then call or text 1737 anytime day or night to talk to a trained counsellor," their statement reads.

7:47pm: The Canterbury District Health Board says there are currently 12 people in operating theatres being treated for gunshot wounds.

Another 48 people ranging from young children to adults were brought into hospitals around the Canterbury region after the attacks.

The CDHB are urging family members to stay away from Christchurch Hospital so people there can get the best treatment.

7:41pm:  The Christchurch mosque shootings are now the deadliest in New Zealand history.

Previously the Aramoana massacre claimed the lives of 13 people in 1990.

7:40pm:  The main gunman had two accomplices and the fourth person arrested today was not connected to the shootings Ms Ardern says.

7:26pm:  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has just confirmed that 40 people have died in the mosque attacks.

She said that 10 people were killed at the Linwood mosque and 30 at the Deans Ave mosque.

A further 20 people have been seriously injured.

Ms Ardern says those arrested today were not on any watch lists in New Zealand.

The national security threat has been raised from low to high in the wake of the attacks.

7:10pm:  Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has spoken to John Campbell this evening.

"We need to come together and care for each other, we need to make this unite us, not divide us."

6:55pm:  Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has just spoken on the attacks.

"We grieve we are shocked appalled and outraged as we stand here and condemn the attack that occurred today by an extremist right wing violent terrorist.

"In a vicious attack that has claimed so many New Zelander's."

He gave his heartfelt sympathies to all of the New Zealand people and all those of Islamic faith in Australia and New Zealand.

6:50pm:  The lock down at Christchurch Hospital has now been lifted as police get control over what has been a, "fluid situation".

6:47pm:  Sommerville St in Dunedin has been cordoned off by heavily armed police.

Police have not confirmed if the cordon is related to the mosque attacks.

6:40pm:  St Peter's Anglican Church in Wellington is holding a vigil at 7pm tonight.

6:23pm:  Latest update from St John: St John has transferred multiple patients to Christchurch Hospital and local medical facilities.

Patient injuries ranged from minor through to those with critical gun shot wounds.

There have been multiple fatalities. 

6:31pm:  With everyone on edge, police say they are in attendance at an incident in Britomart, Auckland where a bag has been located unattended.

6:12pm:  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is currently in a high level briefing and will address the country at 7pm.

6:01pm:  An update from Christchurch Airport over flights.

5:56pm: Reaction to the shootings from All Black and devout Muslim Sonny Bill Williams.

5:55pm:  Police can now confirm the lock down of schools throughout Christchurch has been lifted.

5:31pm:  Police Commissioner Mike Bush says three men and one woman have now been arrested over the attacks at two mosques.

Police cannot say how many fatalities there are, but there have been a "significant number" of deaths.

It cannot yet be confirmed that everyone involved in the attacks have been apprehended.

There were a number of improvised explosive devices found in vehicles after the shootings.

5:25pm:  Another eyewitness has told 1 NEWS the gunman herded people into a corner of one of the mosques involved in the shooting and "continued to fire".

5:15pm:  Thousands of children remain in lockdown at schools across Christchurch.

One school principal has emailed parents to say approximately 750 pupils at the school on the outskirts of Christchurch, are still in lockdown and will remain that way till at least 5:30pm

5:03pm:  The next Test match between Bangladesh and the Black Caps has been cancelled in the wake of the shootings.

5:01pm:  1 NEWS understands the person behind the shooting is an Australian citizen. 

It is not yet known if there was more than one person involved in the attack.

4:46pm: Terrifying footage has emerged of the gunman livestreaming the shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Ave.

4:45pm: Air New Zealand has released a statement around travel to Christchurch.

"We are deeply saddened by the shooting tragedy in #Christchurch city and our thoughts go out to all those involved.

"We are offering flexibility to anyone booked to travel to or from Christchurch today."

4:25pm:  People are warned to stay away from mosques around New Zealand until further notice.

Footage has also emerged of a man being arrested near a crashed white SUV in Christchurch.

4:15pm:  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirms there are multiple locations involved in the Christchurch shootings and calls it "one of New Zealand's darkest days".

Ms Ardern says the incident is still "potentially unfolding" and warns people to stay safe while offering her condolences to victims and those effected by the tragedy.

"This violence has absolutely no place in New Zealand this is not who we are.

"This has occurred in a place where people should be safe and they weren't."

4:00pm:  Latest update from police: There have been multiple fatalities, there is still an active shooter scenario playing out.

One person is in custody and there have been people killed in two mosques, one on Deans Ave and one in Linwood.

3:53pm:  Security Analyst Paul Buchanan says he has seen the gunman's manifesto and the shooting is "clearly a case of a white supremacist".

He says the shooter would likely have had support in carrying out the attack.

3:49pm:  There are unconfirmed reports at least nine people have been killed in the attack.

3:47pm: Another eyewitness has talked to 1 NEWS about the harrowing incident.

"The gunman came through the main entrance, everyone ran to the back doors to save themselves, people hid under cars and jumped the fence to escape.

"I hid at a house next to the mosque and the firing went on and on.

"I saw a guy reloading and changing a gun then start firing again."

3:40pm:  Police in Auckland are sending officers to all mosques in the region as a precaution.

3:30pm:  A Christchurch courier driver says he heard gunshots going off within the Linwood Mosque for 45 seconds to a minute before coming "within spitting distance" of another gunman "spraying bullets" outside.

This is a different mosque than the confirmed shooting at Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Ave.

1 NEWS is attempting to confirm the reports of this second incident.

3:26pm:  1 NEWS understands more than 30 people have been brought into the emergency department at Christchurch Hospital.

There were hundreds of people in the mosque at the time of the incident and one witness says he saw a man enter the mosque with an automatic rifle, who was shooting for 10-15 minutes.

The man was reportedly wearing a black helmet.

3:25pm: Latest update from St John: St John was notified of a firearms incident in Central Christchurch at 1.53pm Friday afternoon.

We have approximately 20 emergency ambulances and operational vehicles at scene providing support and will continue to update you as information comes to hand.

3:20pm:  Leader of the National Party Simon Bridges has tweeted about the incident. 

3:10pm:  What we know so far:

At least one gunman opened fire at the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Ave around 1:40pm.

Witnesses heard multiple gunshots, some saying up to 100 and there are multiple casualties.

Much of Christchurch is on lockdown as police respond to an 'active shooter' situation.

2:58pm:  Witness interview at the scene.

2:55pm:  RNZ reports about 300 people were inside the Linwood mosque for afternoon prayers.

This is the second mosque where unconfirmed reports of a second shooting have emerged.

2:52pm:  A witness told 1 NEWS they heard at least 20 shots at the mosque from what sounded like a semi-automatic firearm.

2:47pm:  Footage at Christchurch Hospital shows multiple people arriving by ambulance on stretchers.

A man is reported to have entered the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Ave around an hour ago and opened fire.

2:45pm: Latest police update:  " In response to a serious ongoing firearms incident in Christchurch all Christchurch schools have been placed into lockdown."

2:42pm:  The Bangladesh cricket team were filmed escaping Hagley Park near the first mosque where a shooting has taken place.

2:35pm: A message from an eyewitness to 1 NEWS says: "My husband was driving past he said he took three people to the hospital, one was a little girl all had been shot.

"He wanted to take more he said there was like a dozen people just lying on the road." 

2:32pm:  There are multiple reports on social media that their has been a shooting at a second mosque in Linwood.

Police are yet to confirm this.

2:31pm: Linwood Ave school is also now in lockdown.

2:30pm: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is being briefed on the unfolding situation and will address it shortly.

2:20pm: Witness at the scene   Mohammed Nazir told 1 NEWS he saw three women shot and bleeding on the ground outside the mosque.

He rang police for help and climbed a wall to escape.

He had to run in terror in his socks leaving his shoes behind to get to safety.

2:18pm:  Police urge anyone in central Christchurch to stay indoors and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to 111.

2:15pm:  Armed police have been deployed to the area according to police, no reports on injuries at this stage.

2:05pm: Police are asking people to "please avoid the Deans Avenue area" saying they will give more information soon.

2:04pm: A witness told Stuff she heard 20 gunshots and saw three people lying on the ground near a mosque on Deans Ave.

2:00pm: Three Schools around Hagley Park including Girls High and Christ’s College are in lockdown.