CHRISTCHURCH: Several people were reported dead when a gunman opened fire at a crowded mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, during afternoon prayers Friday.
Local media reported at least six people were dead and the South Island city was placed in lockdown as police hunted for an “active shooter.”
“A serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter,” police said in a statement. “Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high.”
Reacting to the shooting incident, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that this is one of the country’s darkest days.
Jacinda Ardern,NZ Prime Minister on shooting at a Mosque in Christchurch: This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days. It was an unprecedented act of violence. Police has apprehended a person, but I don’t have further details of him yet. pic.twitter.com/xzTHBjk4Xq
— ANI (@ANI March 15, 2019
The entire Bangladesh cricket team present at the site was just saved from the incident.
“Entire team got saved from active shooters!!!” tweeted Bangladeshi cricketer Tamim Iqbal. “Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers.
Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers #christchurchMosqueAttack
— Tamim Iqbal Khan (@TamimOfficial28 March 15, 2019
ESPN Cricinfo reporter Mohammed Isam said members of the Bangladesh cricket team, who are due to play a Test match in Christchurch tomorrow escaped from the mosque.
“They ran back through Hagley Park back to the Oval,” he tweeted.
Police commissioner Mike Bush said all schools in the city had been placed in lockdown in response to “a serious ongoing firearms incident”.
“Police urge anyone in central Christchurch to stay off the streets and report any suspicious behaviour,” he said in a statement.
An eyewitness told Radio New Zealand he heard shots fired and four people were lying on the ground, with “blood everywhere”.
(With Online Desk inputs