The gunman live-streamed the attack online, which has since been taken down by social media platforms. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter continue to struggle to take down other versions of the videos that have been put up by other users.
In a “manifesto” the gunman published online, he denounced immigrants and called them “invaders.” In the manifesto, the gunman praised Trump calling him “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
“This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” said the country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern. “Clearly what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”
“It is clear that this can only be described as a terrorist attack,” the prime minister said, according to a transcript of her address.
Ardernlater stated that in light of this event, the country’s gun laws will have to change.
Funerals were planned on Saturday for some of the victims, according to Reuters.
President Donald Trump put out a statement on Twitter condemning the “horrible massacre,” saying that “the U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do.”
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen released a statement expressing her condolences for those affected by the attacks and reassured Americans that “the Department of Homeland Security is doing all it can to protect the homeland from violent extremists.”
Nielsen also stated that DHS is not aware of any “credible or active threat domestically, nor of any current information regarding obvious ties between the perpetrators in New Zealand and anyone in the US,” but that they will continue to monitor the situation.
President Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Theresa May and Prime Minister Scott Morrison also put out statements of support on twitter, sending their condolences to the people of New Zealand.
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.
Two Malaysians were injured in the attack, and three Indonesians survived the shooting while three more are unaccounted for, according to reports.
The commissioner said police had been dealing with two shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, one at Deans Avenue and one at Linwood Avenue. “Those locations remain locked down,” he said in a statement published at 6:06 p.m. local time.