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May 23, 2019

A timeline of the New Zealand mosque massacre

March 15, 2019
A police officer patrols at a cordon near a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday. (Mark Baker / AP)

New Zealand was reeling Friday after 49 people were gunned down in what authorities believe to be a well-planned attack targeting two separate mosques during an afternoon prayer service.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned the deadly incident as an “extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence” that can “only be described as a terrorist attack.”

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In addition to the dead, 48 patients, “ranging from young children to adults,” were admitted to Christchurch Hospital with gunshot wounds. Canterbury District Health Board chief executive David Meates said the injuries range from “critical to minor” and that additional patients struck in the afternoon gunfire were admitted to other health facilities in the area.

One man was arrested and charged with murder in connection with the mass shootings. Police detained another three suspects on the scene, one of who was not linked to the brutal incident.

Here’s a breakdown of how the mass attacks unfolded:

1:40 p.m.: A gunman enters the Masjid Al Noor Mosque in Central Christchurch and opens fire, fatally striking at least 41 people.

Mhan Ibrn Ibrahim, who said he was inside the house of worship on Deans Avenue when the chaos unfolded, told CNN he listened to attacker “continuously shooting for 10 to 15 minutes.” He initially thought the the gunfire was an electrical circuit shorting, but realized the source of the noise was much grimmer when it persisted.

“I came to the street, I saw one person got shot in the chest,” he said, adding that first responders were arriving on the scene just as he managed to escape the building.

2:35 p.m.: New Zealand Police confirms they are responding to reports of shots fired in Christchurch, a city of about 400,000 people on the country’s South Island.

Authorities were also quick to lock down the area, including schools and government buildings.

3:58 p.m.: New Zealand police Commissioner Mike Bush in a Facebook video confirms “multiple fatalities, as far as we know, in two locations.”

The Linwood Masjid Mosque, about three miles away from the Al Noor Mosque, was also targeted in the attack. Police said seven people were killed there while another died at Christchurch Hospital from injuries sustained during the shooting.

Bush in the clip also said authorities have a suspect in custody and urged people to remain indoors.

“I want to ask anyone that was thinking of going to a mosque anywhere in New Zealand today not to go, to close your doors, until you hear from us again,” he warned, adding that the incident was still active.

4:10 p.m.: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern publicly addresses the attacks for the first time, dubbing it “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”

“What has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” she said.

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“For now my thoughts and I’m sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders are with those who have been affected.”

6:19 p.m.: Police say that four people — three men and a woman —have been taken into custody in connection with the mass shooting.

7:21 p.m.: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirms the one of the people detained is from Australia.

“I condemn the violent, extremist, right-wing terrorist attack that has stolen the lives of so many innocent New Zealanders as they went about their peaceful practice of worship at their mosques in Christchurch today,” he said in a tweet.

“Australians stand with all New Zealanders today during this time dark time where hate and violence have stolen their peace and innocence. Kia haha (stay strong.)”

9:30 p.m.: Bush tells reporters during an evening press conference that there were multiple explosive devices attached to vehicles as part of the attack.

10:29 p.m.: New Zealand police announce that they charged a 28-year-old man with murder and that he is slated to appear in the Christchurch District court Saturday morning.

“Two others remain in custody,” authorities said in a tweeted. “Another person was arrested earlier today however that was not related to these events.”

With News Wire Services

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