Police are responding to an active shooter on the premises and have warned of a “critical incident” near Hagley Park. The number of casualties is unknown. Canterbury police said on Twitter: “We have a critical incident in Deans Ave Christchurch. Please avoid the area. We will give more in the near future.” National police added: “Armed police have been deployed. Police urge anyone in central Christchurch to stay indoors and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to 111.
The shooting happened at 1.40pm local time (0.40am GMT) during afternoon prayers.
Up to 300 people were inside the mosque when the shooting began according to reports.
Some members of the Bangladesh cricket team were filmed fleeing the scene.
A witness told Stuff NZ he had seen four people lying on the ground and “blood everywhere”.
A business owner told news.com.au: “I heard 20 or more gunshots I thought something happened and the people were running on the other side of Deans Avenue and now I can see so many police.”
At least 30 people have reportedly been injured or killed by a gunman according to reports.
A mass casualty plan has been activated in the area, according to The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB).
One witness reported the gunman, who were dressed in military uniform, opened fire on children.
The alleged killer is believed to have live-streamed the shooting on Facebook.
Police have reported of a bomb in a car on Strickland Street and warned people to stay back.
Muslim Association of Marlborough chairman Zayd Blissett said he found out about the shooting from a text sent by the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) at 2.04pm on Friday saying “50 shot” during Friday prayers in Christchurch.
He told local news outlets: “I’m just heartbroken. In fact I’m sitting here crying.
“This is New Zealand. This can’t happen here.”
More to follow…
Published at Fri, 15 Mar 2019 02:15:00 +0000