At least 49 people are dead, and more than 20 were injured after a gunman opened fire Friday at two mosques in New Zealand, according to NPR.
1/2 A serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter.Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high.Police recommend that residents across Christchurch remain off…
— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) March 15, 2019
Per the news site, a white male in his late 20s entered the place of worship in Christchurch and began firing at attendees during an afternoon prayer session. New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush noted that three other persons of interest are in police custody, yet one may not have played a role in the attacks.
"It is clear this is one of New Zealand's darkest days," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said following the attacks. "What has happened is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence."
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CNN also notes the suspect allegedly livestreamed the shooting on Facebook, and a representative for the social media site confirmed it has taken down his Facebook and Instagram accounts.
"New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video," Mia Garlick, Facebook's director of policy for Australia and New Zealand, asserted.
As details slowly emerge regarding the assailant's ties to the victims, HuffPost is reporting the individual who orchestrated the attacks may have harbored white supremacist views. Before the ambush, the gunman allegedly drafted a 74-page proclamation detailing his racist beliefs. He then published the document on Twitter and another online platform called 8chan.
The manifesto reportedly detailed his disdain for Muslims living in Europe while simultaneously praising campaigns which work to ban Muslim immigrants stateside.
Perhaps one of the more disturbing elements in this investigation came from the body armor the assailant wore during Friday morning's attack.
1st picture: Charlottesville; 2nd picture: Christchurch mosque shooter’s gear. pic.twitter.com/qoZfiUHmyR
— Edwin Aponte (@EdwinAponteAge8) March 15, 2019
HuffPost describes the wardrobe affixed with a black sun wheel, a logo most recognizable among neo-Nazi communities. For reference, this is the same artwork white nationalists who marched in 2017's extremist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, donned during the deadly affair.
In the wake of the attacks, New Zealand police have encouraged mosques around the world to close their doors for the remainder of the day.
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