A new report has confirmed that multiple people have been shot following a gunman opening fire on a mosque in New Zealand.
According to New Zealand police. multiple fatalities have been reported and four people are in custody, three men and one woman, after shootings at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.
Jacinda Ardern, the country’s prime minister, said it was “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.
“Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home.
“They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand. There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence, which it is clear this act was,” she said.
Reports have it that the shooting happened at Al Noor mosque on Dean’s Road and the Linwood Masjid on Linwood Avenue, police said.
The gunman reportedly entered the mosque in central Christchurch and opened fire at 1.40pm local time.
The police via a statement said one suspect was in custody, but it was still an “active shooter situation”.
A Christchurch hospital spokesman confirmed some of the victims were being treated at the emergency department and that the hospital was in lockdown.
Ardern also revealed that some of those directly affected by this shooting might be migrants to New Zealand.
“They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us,” she told reporters.
“The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand.”
Bangladesh cricket team, who were outside the mosque when the shootings began, escaped unhurt. They were meant to play the final Test match of their NZ tour in Christchurch on Saturday. The game has since been cancelled.
The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, said he was “horrified” by the reports.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our Kiwi cousins,” he said.
At least 300 people were inside the mosque for Friday prayers.
Len Peneha who witnessed the shooting told Associated Press he saw a man dressed in black enter the Al Noor mosque before he began to hear gunshots.
“I saw dead people everywhere.”
Another man who spoke with newsmen said his wife was also in the mosque.
“It was very peaceful, calm and quiet, as it is when the sermon starts, you could hear a pin drop. Then suddenly the shooting started,” he said.
“I saw about 20 plus people, some were dead, some were screaming. On the left there were 10 plus people, some were dead.”