‘Community is grieving’ – local Christchurch resident

People place flowers at a memorial as a tribute to victims of the mosque attacks, near a police line outside Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva - RC1CACBD3140

Speaking to Newsbook.com.mt, a local Christchurch resident has said that the community is grieving after the attack.

‘We are deeply hurt and grieving for our community at this time. There are really no words to give significance and respect to the victims of this act of terror or to the pain we feel as New Zealanders.’

Prudence Walker is a Consultant living in Christchurch.

Two 2 year olds in stable condition

Her words come following yesterday’s attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, in which a 28 year old Australian man armed with a shotgun and assault rifles, killed 49 Muslim worshippers, both adults and children.

Greg Robertson

Greg Robertson, Head Surgeon with the Christchurch hospital told reporters that from the 48 admitted, 36 people including children as young as 2, are still currently being treated, 11 of which are in intensive care, ‘critically ill’. 7 people have been discharged.

4 people are understood to have died on the way to hospital while a 4 year old had been taken to Auckland’s Starship hospital in a critical condition.

Two boys aged 2 years old are in hospital, Robertson stating that they are in a stable condition.

Gunman in court

The gunman has been named as Brenton Harrison Tarrant and he has appeared in court facing one count of murder, with more likely. The judge ordered that Tarrant’s face be pixelated during the initial proceedings.

Brenton Tarrant, charged for murder in relation to the mosque attacks, is lead into the dock for his appearance in the Christchurch District Court, New Zealand March 16, 2019. Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald/Pool via REUTERS

No bail was granted and he is expected to appear in court again on April 5th.

It is understood that Tarrant’s family is currently cooperating with the Australian police in their investigation, with the Police Commissioner of New South Wales, Mick Fuller explaining that the police had been contacted by the family following the initial news reports.

Tarrant is understood to originate from Grafton NSW and had only been known to police due to ‘minor traffic matters’. He had been largely absent from Australia in the last four years.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said that Tarrant had been arrested by two community police officers around 36 minutes after the police were first called.

She explained that Tarrant was ‘mobile’ and was intending to carry out further attacks. Although no further threat is expected, the intention is now to prepare for the burial process.

According to security sources, Brenton Tarrant may have met with members of extreme right groups in Europe around two years prior.

Investigators are currently looking into this.

Gun laws

The NZ Attorney General David Parker, has told a rally in Auckland that the government will be moving towards banning semi-automatic weapons.

The news reflects yesterday’s comments by the Prime Minister in which she said that the gunman was in possession of a valid gun licence and legally owned the shotguns and assault rifles in his possession, at the time of the attack. More weapons were found at his known address.

Update 4: Prime Minister says suspect had valid gun licence; gun laws will change

The NZ Police Commissioner Mike Bush, has said that the police ‘are not searching for anyone posing a threat but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.’ Tarrant was one of four arrested but the only one taken into custody.

The community has been laying flowers to remember the dead, with the police collecting them to take to the Al Noor Mosque.

People place flowers at a memorial as a tribute to victims of the mosque attacks, near a police line outside Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva – RC1CACBD3140