‘Absolutely his intention’: Christchurch gunman planned further attacks, had other firearms

‘Absolutely his intention’: Christchurch gunman planned further attacks, had other firearms

Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian citizen, appeared in a Christchurch District Court Saturday.

Wearing handcuffs and a white prison shirt, the Australia-born former fitness instructor and self-professed fascist sat impassively as the judge read the charge against him.

"There were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in, and it absolutely was his intention to continue with this attack", she told a news conference.

Pacific Islands Forum Chair and president of Nauru Baron Waqa expressed his "deepest condolences" to the people and government of New Zealand on what he called a sad day for Christchurch and a sad day for the region.

He was arrested 36 minutes after the first call to police, Ardern added.

New Zealand has raised its security threat level to the highest.

The video, which was live-streamed on Facebook, has since been removed from the platform.

After the suspect left the court, the judge said that while "there is one charge of murder brought at the moment, it is reasonable to assume that there will be others".

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Two mosques were targeted in the attack. Most others marked on the email were media houses, both domestic and worldwide, said a PM's spokesman. He had been living in Dunedin, New Zealand, at the time of the attack, was taken into custody by authorities after he targeting the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Mosque, both located in Christchurch.

Like most developed countries, New Zealand has far stricter gun laws than the United States, where more than 50 shootings involving more than one victim have already taken place this year. Thirty-six of those remain in Christchurch hospital, where they are being treated with the utmost care and professionalism by medical staff. "The people of New Zealand are in our thoughts and prayers".

Twelve operating theatres worked through the night on the more than 40 people wounded, said hospital authorities. Several New Zealand politicians, including National Party leader Simon Bridges and parliament speaker Trevor Mallard, were on the mailing list.

Ardern said Tarrant was a licensed gun owner who allegedly used five weapons, including two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns, which had been modified.

New Zealand law enforcement is working with Australian intelligence and police in the "wide-reaching" investigation, the commissioner said. Neighboring Australia has virtually banned semi-automatic rifles from private ownership since a lone gunman killed 35 people with assault rifles in 1996.

She did not offer too much detail, but said a ban on semi-automatic weapons would be looked at. "These acts of hate have no place in the diverse and tolerant society for which New Zealand is justly known", the White House statement said.

President Donald Trump, who has a record of Islamophobic rhetoric, online behavior and policies, tweeted out his "warmest sympathy and best wishes" to the people of New Zealand.

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