CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand – Forty-nine people have been confirmed dead and 48 injured following orchestrated mass shootings at two Christchurch, New Zealand, mosques March 15.
Four individuals, three men and one woman, were initially arrested as suspects in the shooting, according to the New Zealand Herald. Police charged their chief suspect, a 28-year-old Australian man, with murder March 16.
The man charged with murder in association with the attack live streamed a graphic 17-minute video of himself during the attack via Facebook. He also released an 87-page manifesto highlighting his criminal intentions and ideology via Twitter and 8chan (an American website composed of user-created image boards), according to New Zealand Herald reports.
“This is and will be one of New Zealand's darkest days,” said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities, 160 languages, and amongst said diversity, we share common values and the one we place the currency on right now and tonight is our compassion and the support for the community of those directly affected by this tragedy and secondly, the strongest possibly condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this,” Ardern said in a press conference following the Christchurch attack.
“You may have chosen us. But we utterly reject and condemn you,” she said.
U.S. President Donald Trump and others took to social media March 15 to express sympathy and support for the victims of the Christchurch shootings.
“My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!” Trump said.
“The terrorist attacks in New Zealand are horrifying,” said Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, via Twitter.
“We should pray and work for swift justice against these murderers, and for grace and comfort for those grieving the loss of family, friends, neighbors,” said Moore.
“The acts of terror and unprecedented violence in New Zealand today should be condemned worldwide. All people should be able to worship freely without fear of attack,” said Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, a former Southern Baptist minister.