/Armed police deployed after reports of shooting at Christchurch mosque

Armed police deployed after reports of shooting at Christchurch mosque

Updated

March 15, 2019 13:48:56

There are reports up to a dozen people have been injured in a shooting at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Key points:

  • A witness said a man carrying a gun walked into the mosque about 1:45pm
  • The Bangladeshi Test cricket team was among the worshippers in the mosque, and had to flee
  • New Zealand media reported that ambulances had been rushing from the scene to hospital

Police have confirmed they are responding to a “critical incident”.

All Christchurch schools are in lockdown and witnesses have reported multiple injuries.

The mosque was reportedly busy due to Friday prayers.

Witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch about 1:45pm and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.

Mr Peneha, who has lived next door to the mosque for about five years, said the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon in his driveway, and fled.

Mr Peneha said he then went into the mosque to try and help.

“I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque,” he said.

“It’s unbelievable nutty. I don’t understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It’s ridiculous.”

Janine Richmond, who lives nearby the mosque, said she heard about 20 gunshots.

“It started off quite slowly and then got very rapid,” she told NZ media.

Another witness interviewed on TVNZ said he saw a man carrying a gun enter the mosque.

“I heard a big sound of the gun. And a second one, I ran. Lots of people were sitting on the floor. I ran behind the mosque,” he said.

TVNZ showed pictures of injured people being taken into a local hospital on stretchers.

Shrinivas Chandrasekaran, an analyst with the Bangladeshi cricket team currently touring in Christchurch, said the entire Test team had been at the mosque at the time of the attack.

“Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers,” Mr Chandrasekaran wrote.

An ESPN cricket reporter shared vision of the team walking quickly through a park.

People in central Christchurch have been urged to stay indoors and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to authorities.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister is expected to speak shortly.

More to come.

ABC/wires

Topics:

law-crime-and-justice,

police,

new-zealand

First posted

March 15, 2019 12:44:05