New Zealand terrorist sent manifesto to PM Ardern nine minutes before attack
The terrorist who killed at least 50 people in two New Zealand mosques sent his manifesto to the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s office email about nine minutes before the attacks, Ardern said.
Although she hadn’t gotten the email directly herself, Ardern said her office was one of about 30 recipients and had forwarded the email to Parliamentary security within a couple of minutes of receiving it.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the body of the 50th victim was found at the Al Noor mosque, where more than 40 people died after the terrorist entered and shot at people with a semi-automatic rifle with high-capacity magazines, before travelling to a second mosque.
Police rammed the suspect’s vehicle and arrested him as he drove away from the second mosque in the suburb of Linwood. Bush said the man was apprehended 36 minutes after police were alerted.
Bush said at a news conference Sunday that they found another body at Al Noor mosque as they finished removing the victims, bringing the number of people killed there to 42. Another seven people were killed at Linwood mosque and one more person died later at Christchurch Hospital.
Another 34 victims remained at Christchurch Hospital, where officials said 12 were in critical condition. And a 4-year-old girl at a children’s hospital in Auckland was also listed as critical.
Dozens of Muslim supporters gathered at a center set up for victims, families and friends across the road from the hospital, where many had flown in from around New Zealand to offer support. About two dozen men received instructions on their duties Sunday morning, which included Muslim burial customs.
Abdul Hakim, 56, of Auckland, was among many who had flown in to help.
“As soon as people die we must bury them as soon as possible,” Hakim said. “We are all here to help them in washing the body, putting them in the grave.”
Javed Dadabhai, who flew from Auckland after learning about the death of his 35-year-old cousin Junaid Mortara, said the Muslim community was being patient.
“The family understands that it’s a crime scene. It’s going to be a criminal charge against the guy who’s done this, so they need to be pretty thorough,” he said.
Still, it was hard, he said, because the grieving process wouldn’t really begin until he could bury his cousin.
People across New Zealand were still trying to come to terms with the massacre that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
A steady stream of mourners arrived at a makeshift memorial outside the Al Noor mosque, where hundreds of flowers lay piled amid candles, balloons and notes of grief and love. As a light rain fell, people clutched each other and wept quietly.