A gunman opened fire on a pair of mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday, with multiple fatalities reported by police in an apparently racially-motivated terrorist act that police say was streamed live on social media.
A man — self-described in the video as a 28-year-old white man born in Australia — seems to have recorded the attack, which appears to have been carried out with a semi-automatic weapon with white writing on it. Multiple reports on Thursday indicated that the gunman left a lengthy manifesto online where he explained the attack was motivated by white supremacy, labeling the victims as “invaders.”
A witness at one of the mosques said the gunman was “continuously shooting for ten to 15 minutes.” According to CNN, the gunfire beginning around 1:40 p.m. local time when there was a “gunfire sound coming from the back side.” The details of the incidents are horrific, as the story broke late at night Thursday in the United States as officials on the other side of the world tried to get a grasp on the scale of the attack.
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern called the mass shootings on Friday “one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” as officials pleaded with citizens not to go to mosques and to stay home until authorities have control over the situation.