New Zealand mosque shooting: Terror attack suspect Brenton Tarrant appears in court

Flowers left at cordon

Several of those who were killed or wounded in the shooting rampage at two New Zealand mosques on Friday were from the Middle East or South Asia, according to initial reports from several governments.

Brenton Tarrant, formerly of Grafton, was led into the court barefoot in a prison robe and handcuffs, and was not required to speak during his brief three-minute appearance.

New Zealand police said 49 people were killed and 42 were being treated for wounds, including a four-year-old child.

Windsor police Chief Al Frederick contacted the mosque early in the day and promised stepped-up patrols there and at other mosques in the city.

Leaders around the world expressed sorrow and disgust at the attacks, with some deploring the demonisation of Muslims.

Muslims protest the Christchurch mosque attack in New Zealand in Dhaka, Bangladesh, March 15, 2019.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also condemned the fatal shootings, saying the attack on people during prayers is "absolutely appalling".

"Fijian hearts are breaking for our brothers and sisters in New Zealand - a place where an atrocity of this nature is shocking nearly beyond comprehension".

"We have seen what happens in the United States when gun radicals are involved.

Rhetoric of racism, division and extremism has no place not only in New Zealand but I would say in a society as a whole".

The Herald later quoted one of the witnesses from Lindwood, Syed Mazharuddin, who said that the gunman was confronted by a mosque caretaker, who wrestled one of his guns away but did not shoot because he "couldn't find the trigger".

According to gunpolicy.org, in 2017, the estimated rate of both registered and illicit private gun ownership in New Zealand per 100 people is 33.26.

Police officers search the area near the Masjid Al Noor mosque site of one of the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch New Zealand Saturday
New Zealand mosque shooting: Terror attack suspect Brenton Tarrant appears in court

At a news conference on Saturday afternoon local time, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said authorities would release more information on the victims soon.

"As Christians we Cook Islanders have come to accept the church as a place of refuge, of safety and of comfort".

The attack was the worst ever peacetime mass killing in New Zealand and the country raised its security threat level to the highest.

"In these times of mourning and recollection, our common values, that of a Polynesian world that lives in fraternity and respect for everyone, will help us overcome this awful ordeal".

Ardern, wearing a black headscarf, met with survivors and victims' families Saturday at a college which has become an information centre for those affected by the tragedy.

Last year, New Zealand's prime minister announced that the country would boost its annual refugee quota from 1,000 to 1,500 in 2020.

Worldwide media were packed outside the court before the hearing, along with heavily armed police and security staff. Photo: Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the events in Christchurch represented "an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence", and that numerous victims could be migrants or refugees. A woman who said she was a colleague of his when he worked as a personal trainer in the Australian city of Grafton said she was shocked by the allegations against him.

He said they were praying "to our God of all peoples and of all cultures for peace, tolerance and good will". "This will mark a profound change to New Zealand's self-perception".

"We're hoping that wouldn't spread any fear in our youth, in our community", Wahb said. It's a lot to take in, and talking to friends and family can help.

Aupito said festival organisers have contacted schools about the decision. "More importantly it was also about standing in solidarity in a small way to offer their love and support to the people of Christchurch".

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