New Zealand shooting: suspect Brenton Tarrant in court charged with murder

New Zealand shooting: suspect Brenton Tarrant in court charged with murder

Two Muslim organizations in the Chicago area said they were stepping up patrols and other security measures Friday after a mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand killed at least 49 people and wounded dozens more, but Chicago police said they were not aware of any local threats.

NZ Police closed the Christchurch court to the public over security concerns, but media was able to attend.

Police said two other people were in custody.

That said, the two countries are dramatically different in size, with New Zealand having a population of less than 4.8 million people while the USA has an estimated 327.2 million people, but the gun violence rates are notably different when looked at with comparitive sizes.

He said there will be a heightened police presence at community events on Saturday "for safety and reassurance".

"While some of our elected leaders sadly choose not to mention "Muslim" or "mosque" while denouncing the Christchurch attacks, the reality is that these horrific shootings and the Quebec City mosque attack on January 29, 2017, have left Canadian Muslim communities - and indeed, Muslims around the world - feeling very vulnerable and unsafe", wrote the Council's executive director Ihsaan Gardee.

Police on Saturday confirmed 42 were still being treated for injuries, including a five-year-old in critical condition.

"The offender was in possession of a gun license" obtained in November 2017, and he started purchasing the weapons the following month, she said. In fact, for many, New Zealand was a choice, a place they actively came to and committed themselves to, the place they were raising their families, where they were part of communities they loved and who loved them.

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Jacinda Ardern noted several earlier attempts to reform the gun laws in 2005, 2012 and 2017.

Witnesses described bloody scenes and bodies falling to the ground as worshippers ran for doors and the shooter moved from room to room for around 20 minutes. Now is the time for change.

One man, blood stains across his shirt, told AAP he hid under a bench and pretended to stop breathing as the gunman reloaded seven times. But I also want to send a message to those directly affected.

New Zealand police described the footage shot by the gunman - which AFP has verified, but is not distributing - as "extremely distressing" and warned web users that they could be liable for up to 10 years in jail for sharing such "objectionable content".

One Saudi citizen was killed and another wounded, according to Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television news channel.

Witnesses told media that a man dressed in a military-style, camouflage outfit, and carrying an automatic rifle had started randomly shooting people in the Al Noor mosque.

Leaders across the world, including Queen Elizabeth, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Pope Francis and United States president Donald Trump have sent condolences and condemned the attack.

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