Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Police in New Zealand’s Christchurch city are hunting an “active” shooter after he opened fire at a mosque and killed several people.
“A serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter,” New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said Friday. “Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high.”
Local media reported that six people were dead and the South Island city was placed on lockdown.
Eyewitnesses told local media that the gunman, dressed in a military-style outfit, started randomly shooting people in the Masjid Al Noor mosque with his automatic rifle.
“Horrified to hear of Christchurch mosque shootings. There is never a justification for that sort of hatred,” said Amy Adams, a member of parliament from Christchurch.
There were reports of armed police at a second mosque in the suburb of Linwood.
Police advised people living in the city center to stay indoors. All schools and council buildings were also placed on lockdown.
Witnesses said three or four bodies were lying on the ground in the mosque, but no official confirmation on casualties was available.
The Bangladesh cricket team was also at the mosque attending Friday prayers. The team was slated to play New Zealand in a third cricket test starting on Saturday.
“They were on the bus, which was just pulling up to the mosque when the shooting begun,” Mario Villavarayen, one of the team’s coaches, told Reuters in a message. “They are shaken but good.”