There are scattered reports emerging that several people have been killed after a gunman reportedly marched into one, possibly two mosques in Christchurch and opened fire, with police currently on the scene of what’s described as a “major” incident.
Reports of shots being fired inside the Al Noor mosque in northern Christchurch emerged at about 1:40pm local time this afternoon, with witnesses reporting “blood everywhere” on the scene.
Eye-witnesses reported a man in “military gear” walking into the mosque before shots were heard. As many as 300 people were inside the mosque at the time of the attack.
In response, Christchurch police have placed all schools and hospitals in the city into urgent lockdown as investigations into the incident continue.
Members of the Bangladesh national cricket team were reportedly inside the mosque at the time of the shooting. An ESPN cameraman covering the team’s on-going New Zealand tour captured the clearly shocked players leaving the mosque after escaping.
Bangladesh team escaped from a mosque near Hagley Park where there were active shooters. They ran back through Hagley Park back to the Oval. pic.twitter.com/VtkqSrljjV
— Mohammad Isam (@Isam84) March 15, 2019
UPDATE: New Zealand Police have Tweeted confirmation of the incident, urging citizens to remain indoors and away from windows.
2/2 … off the streets and indoors until further notice. Christchurch schools will be locked down until further notice.Police thanks the public for their cooperation and will provide further updates to keep residents informed.
— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) March 15, 2019
The Guardian is also reporting that police are also attending a scene reportedly involving an alleged bomb in a car near the scene of the initial shooting.
The Australian Consulate has urged any citizens or anyone with relatives or loved ones in the area to contact them for further assistance should it be required.
Any Australian citizens who require consular assistance, or families concerned about the welfare of citizens should contact +6444736411 or +61262613305
— Australia in NZ (@AusHCNZ) March 15, 2019
More on this major story as it develops.Image: Google Maps