At least 49 people were killed and another ten injured during mass shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, on the night before the militant opened fire at two mosques.
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Shooting was classified as a terrorist attack.
"This is something we never expected to happen here," said Christchurch deputy Jerry Brownley, "Good Morning America." "We are a relatively small population, and although we are ethnically diverse, we live a very peaceful life, and this, as many saw, ruined our innocence."
Brownlee, who said she lives a short distance from one of the firing places, said, "Almost everyone will find someone or have a relationship with seven people who have been killed or seriously injured today."
"This is one of New Zealand's darkest days," said New Zealand Prime Minister Jakid Ardner at a press conference on the eve of this week.
A gunman who was dressed in tactical outfits showed live video of filming on social media, the New Zealand police said. He documented his trip from his car and into the center of worship in the center of Christchurch, where he opened the fire without distraction, reports police.
Officials said they were working to eliminate the "extremely worrisome" footage taken on the scene and urged social media users not to share them.
Three people are in custody, including one Australian citizen. One man was charged with murder and is expected to appear in court on Saturday, told police.
The Sagittarius also opened the fire in the vicinity outside the mosques. Police reported that they found two improvised explosive devices attached to vehicles in the area, but they were protected.
Witnesses said the attack occurred just before 1:40. local time, when the Sheikh gave a sermon in Christchurch, where about 375 thousand people live.
"The gun begins to shoot, and he just came and he shot specifically," said Ramzan Ali.
Arden recalled the nationality of the victims, saying: "Many of the directly involved migrants, refugees who have decided to be here. They are ours, the person who made it is not."
Ali said that he survived, hiding under the lava.
"I did not see him, because I just lay under the bench, thinking that if I get out, then I'm shot," he said. – I just hold my fingers to be alive.
He added: "I was the last guy who left the mosque after the shooting stopped, and there were many bodies on the door."
Len Pene, who lives next to one of the mosques, told the AP that he "saw dead people everywhere" when he was going to help.
"I have been living next door to this mosque for about ninety years, and people are great, they are very friendly," he said. – I just do not understand.
Brownley praised the police for acting promptly and said that the most important thing now is the support of those who have contacts with the victims.
Of the 49 deaths, the New Zealand police said that 41 victims died at the mountaineers of Dean Avenue, seven at the Linwood Avenue mosque and in the hospital.
"New Zealand is a place where people felt very safe and very free," he added, "and this has certainly shaken this belief today and we must make sure we do not fall into the constant loss of freedom that we appreciate it. "
Ardern said that none of the suspects was on any active watch list of terrorism, and this was "not a question of someone slipping under the radar."
Morrison said that the shootings were carried out by "an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist who took his life – stole life" – in a brutal, fatal assault that claims so many New Zealanders. "
Queen Elizabeth in a statement said she was "deeply saddened by the terrible events in Christchurch."
"I and Prince Philip send our sympathy to the families and friends of those who perished. I also pay tribute to emergency services and volunteers who support the wounded," she said. "In this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers with all New Zealanders."
President Donald Trump wrote: "My warmest condolences and best wishes are expressed to people in New Zealand after a terrible massacre in mosques, with 49 innocent people so meaninglessly dead and so much more seriously wounded. New Zealand for everything what can we do
My warmest compassion and best wishes come to the people of New Zealand after a terrible massacre in mosques. 49 innocent people so meaninglessly died, and so much more seriously wounded. The United States stands for New Zealand for everything we can do. God bless all!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2019
The White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders also made a statement condemning the attacks.
"Our thoughts and prayers are related to the victims and their families," the statement reads. "We are acting in solidarity with the people of New Zealand and their government against this criminal act of hatred."
ABC News Matt Foster, Will Gretsky and Darren Reynolds contributed to this report.