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Killer's manifesto found

UPDATE 7:03 a.m.

The gunman behind at least one of the mosque shootings in New Zealand that left 49 people dead on Friday tried to make a few things clear in the manifesto he left behind: He is a 28-year-old Australian white nationalist who hates immigrants. He was set off by attacks in Europe that were perpetrated by Muslims. He wanted revenge, and he wanted to create fear.

He also, quite clearly, wanted attention.

Though he claimed not to covet fame, the gunman — whose name was not immediately released by police — left behind a 74-page document posted on social media under the name Brenton Tarrant in which he said he hoped to survive the attack to better spread his ideas in the media.

He also livestreamed to the world in graphic detail his assault on the worshippers at Christchurch's Al Noor Mosque.

That rampage killed at least 41 people, while an attack on a second mosque in the city not long after killed several more. Police did not say whether the same person was responsible for both shootings.

While his manifesto and video were an obvious and contemptuous ploy for infamy, they do contain important clues for a public trying to understand why anyone would target dozens of innocent people who were simply spending an afternoon engaged in prayer.

There could be no more perplexing a setting for a mass slaughter than New Zealand, a nation so placid and so isolated from the mass shootings that plague the U.S. that even police officers rarely carry guns.

Yet the gunman himself highlighted New Zealand's remoteness as a reason he chose it. He wrote that an attack in New Zealand would show that no place on earth was safe and that even a country as far away as New Zealand is subject to mass immigration.

He said he grew up in a working-class Australian family, had a typical childhood and was a poor student. A woman who said she was a colleague of his when he worked as a personal trainer in the Australian city of Grafton said she was shocked by the allegations against him.


UPDATE 5:44 a.m.

Justin Trudeau has issued a brief statement on Twitter condemning the fatal shootings at two mosques in New Zealand.

The prime minister says attacking people during prayers is "absolutely appalling."

He went on to say Canadians join New Zealanders and Muslim communities around the world in grieving.


ORIGINAL 5:30 a.m.

At least 49 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days."

One man was arrested and charged with murder in what appeared to be a carefully planned racist attack. Police also defused explosive devices in a car.

Two other armed suspects were being held in custody. Police said they were trying to determine how they might be involved.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the events in Christchurch represented "an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence," and that many of the victims could be migrants or refugees.

"It is clearthat this can now only be describedas a terrorist attack," Ardern said.

In addition to the dead, health officials said 48 people were being treated at Christchurch Hospital for gunshot wounds. Injuries ranged from minor to critical.

Police took three men and a woman into custody after the shootings, which shocked people across the nation of 5 million people. Police later said one of the arrests didn't relate to the shootings.

While there was no reason to believe there were any more suspects, Ardern said the national security threat level was being raised from low to high, the second-highest level.

National carrier Air New Zealand cancelled at least 17 flights in and out of Christchurch, saying it couldn't properly screen customers and their baggage following the shootings.

Police said the investigation had extended 360 kilometres (240 miles) to the south, where homes in Dunedin were evacuated around a "location of interest." A police statement gave no further detail of how it might be linked to the attacks.

Authorities have not specified who they detained, but said none had been on any watch list. A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto in which he explained who he was and his reasoning for the attack. He said he was a 28-year-old white Australian and a racist.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that one of the people detained was an Australian-born citizen.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said Friday night that a man had been charged with murder. He did not say whether police believed the same shooter was responsible for both attacks.

Ardern alluded at a news conference to anti-immigrant sentiment as the possible motive, saying that while many people affected by the shootings may be migrants or refugees, "they have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us."

As for the suspects, Ardern said, "these are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand."



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