Accused New Zealand mosque shooter makes first court appearance

Accused New Zealand mosque shooter makes first court appearance

The main suspect in a mass shooting in at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand that left 49 people dead appeared in court Saturday.

The New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, is expected to give a press conference later on Sunday announcing further details about gun laws set to be introduced in the aftermath of the attack.

Australian man Brenton Tarrant faced court on Saturday charged with one count of murder in relation to the attacks.

Thirty- six people were still being treated on Saturday, 11 of whom remained in intensive care. Police said the alleged shooter was arrested in a auto, which was carrying improvised explosive devices, 36 minutes after they were first called.

"Those decisions have yet to be taken, but the Prime Minister has signaled that we are going to look at that issue", Parker told Radio New Zealand.

Ardern noted that this individual traveled around the world and spent "sporadic periods of time" in New Zealand.

He said the Fijian people stood with their Pacific family in this time of suffering and sadness, and we condemn all forms of hatred and terror.

Church services for victims of the attack were held around the country, including at Christchurch's "Cardboard Cathedral", a temporary structure built after much of the central city was destroyed in a 2011 quake.

Muslims pray during a vigil for victims of the mosque shootings in New Zealand, outside city hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 15, 2019.

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"That obviously leads to an Australian-based investigation and all of our inquiries here will be absolutely shared and communicated with New Zealand authorities".

Most of the victims of the attacks were immigrants from Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia and Afghanistan.

She added none of the three people who were arrested had a criminal history in Australia or New Zealand and were not not on the police's watch-list in either country.

Abdikina Ali-Hassarn and his family moved to New Zealand from Somalia four years ago and were regular worshippers at the Linwood mosque.

On Monday, government officials plan to hold a cabinet meeting which will "focus on the ease with which legal weapons can be modified to become military-style assault rifles, which are more strictly controlled".

"I can tell you one thing right now, our gun laws will change", Ardern said.

'Just 24 hours after the Christchurch shooting New Zealand bans semiautomatic guns!' she wrote in reference to New Zealand Attorney General David Parker's comments about banning the controversial weapons. He used five guns in the attacks and had a gun license allowing him to legally purchase all of his weapons.

"Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with the devastating effect a mass shooting has on a faith community", said Meryl Ainsman, chair of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. "My message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities", she said she told him. "Rhetoric of racism, division and extremism has no place not only in New Zealand but I would say in a society as a whole".

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