Several people were reported dead when a gunman opened fire at a crowded mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. The gunfire began in the city center at 1:40 p.m. local time at a mosque on Deans Avenue.
The mosque was crowded dud to Friday prayers, eyewitness say the mosque had close to 200 people at the time of shooting, and the gunman fired indiscriminately for over 15 minutes. Multiple ambulances were seen moving around the site of the event.
The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern held a press conference and described it as "one of New Zealand's darkest days."
The New Zealand police asked residents in Christchurch to remain indoors, schools have been on lockdown. The Bangladesh Cricket team who is in the nation for a cricket series were not inside the mosque at the time of the incident.
New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush said in a Facebook video there had been "multiple fatalities, as far as we know, at two locations." The police are being sent to all mosques in Christchurch as a precaution.
New Zealand police are verifying a disturbing video doing rounds on social media, purportedly shows a gunman walking into the mosque and opening fire.
The New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush told reporters that the police have arrested four people. Three of those in custody were men and one was a woman. Also he added that multiple improvised explosive devices were attached to vehicles as part of the attack.
The police are using all their resources to get the situation under control and make the area safe before they lift the lockdown.
Update 11:03 IST
Lockdown lifted in Christchurch's schools, New Zealand police tweets.
... and the safety of the community is our priority.We will provide further information as we are able. We will provide further information as we are able.
— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) March 15, 2019
Facebook confirms shortly after the livestream that the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video in circulation has been removed.