The royal family has sent a touching message to the people of New Zealand as 49 people are confirmed dead in the shocking mass shooting in Christchurch.
On Friday afternoon the city in the country’s south island was targeted in what has been described as a designated terrorist attack.
At about 1.40pm (local time) a gunman entered the Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and opened fire, with reports at the time six people were killed and dozens more injured. A bomb was also found in a car on Strickland Street about 4 kilometres from the Al Noor Mosque.
Canterbury Police in Christchurch have since confirmed a total of 49 people lost their lives during the attack, including 41 at Deans Avenue mosque and seven at the second location at Linwood Avenue mosque. A further one person died in hospital while 48 people are being treated for injuries obtained during the attack.
In a statement shared on Facebook the police also confirmed one person has been charged for the brutal crime with investigations still ongoing.
“A 28-year-old man has been charged with murder and is due to appear in the Christchurch District Court tomorrow morning,” they wrote in the post.
“Two others remain in custody. Another person was arrested earlier today however that was not related to these events.”
People across the globe have sent messages of support to those affected by the horrific attack including members of the royal family who took to social media to express their sadness following the loss of lives.
The Queen, Prince Charles and wife Camilla, Prince Harry and Meghan and Prince William and Kate all shared heartfelt messages to the country’s people in their time of hardship.
A message from The Queen to the people of New Zealand: “I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today. Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends who have lost their lives. I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured. At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders. – Elizabeth R”
“I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today,” Queen Elizabeth II wrote in a post shared on Instagram. “Prince Phillip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives.
“I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured. At this tragic time my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders.”
The younger members of the royal family sent a similar message following the crime, noting how evil the attack was.
“This senseless attack is an affront to the people of Christchurch and New Zealand, and the broader Muslim community,” the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said in a message shared on Instagram.
“It is a horrifying assault on a way of life that embodies decency, community and friendship. We know that from this devastation and deep mourning, the people of New Zealand will unite to show that such evil can never defeat compassion and tolerance.”
“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives in the devastating attack in Christchurch. We have all been fortunate to spend time in Christchurch and have felt the warm, open-hearted and generous spirit that is core to its remarkable people. No person should ever have to fear attending a sacred place of worship. This senseless attack is an affront to the people of Christchurch and New Zealand, and the broader Muslim community. It is a horrifying assault on a way of life that embodies decency, community, and friendship. We know that from this devastation and deep mourning, the people of New Zealand will unite to show that such evil can never defeat compassion and tolerance. We send our thoughts and prayers to everyone in New Zealand today. Kia Kaha.” — The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
While police are yet to reveal the name of the person charged for the murderous rampage reports have claimed an Australian man is alleged to be behind at least one of the fatal shootings at Christchurch mosques.
Prior to the attack, Brenton Tarrant, 28, issued a 73-page manifesto online in which he took aim at immigration rates in “European lands” and called for revenge on “invaders that seek to enter our lands”.
The gunman has not yet been named by police, but Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed one of the men in custody is an Australian citizen. Starts at 60 has not been able to independently verify his identity.
In the manifesto, seen by Starts at 60, Tarrant described himself as an ordinary white man, born to a working class, low income family, who had a regular childhood “without any great issues”.
The alleged gunman said he carried out the attack to avenge “thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders”.
“To most of all show the invaders that our lands will never be their lands, our homelands are our own and that, as long as a white man still lives, they will NEVER conquer our lands and they will never replace our people,” he wrote.
“To take revenge on the invaders for the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders in European lands throughout history. To take revenge for the enslavement of millions of Europeans taken from their lands by the Islamic slavers.”