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Accused New Zealand mosque shooter makes first court appearance

17 March 2019

"Lots of love for our Muslim brothers", read a handwritten card on a wall of flowers in a historic part of the city that stretched a full block.

Mourners pay their respects at a makeshift memorial near the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, March 16, 2019.

One victim posted a Facebook video from his hospital bed, asking for prayers for himself, his son and daughter.

Friday's mass shootings in Christchurch killed 50 people.

Retired electrical engineer Ali Elmadani from UAE and futsal player 14-year-old Sayyad Milne, are also among the victims. An officer stopped him.

He says one of those people has been released and the other has been charged with firearms offenses.

Of those killed in the massacre, 41 died at the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue in central Christchurch, seven were killed at the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque, and one person died at Christchurch Hospital.

"It's been 36 hours, I haven't heard anything about them", he said.

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Nearby, Akhtar Khokhur leaned on the shoulders of her friend and cried as she held up her cellphone with an image of her husband.

"I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today", she said.

Mr Adeeb Sami's trip to New Zealand was supposed to be joyful - a chance for the Dubai-based father to surprise his twin children in time for their birthday. The couple was due to fly out Sunday.

Tarrant was also purportedly inspired to commit the mosque shootings by Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Oslo in 2011.

At least 49 people were killed in Friday's attack.

But the stream, lasting 17 minutes, was shared repeatedly on YouTube and Twitter, and internet platforms were scrambling to remove videos being reposted of the gruesome scenes.

New Zealand's attorney general, David Parker, took it step farther and vowed to ban semi-automatic guns at a vigil on Saturday, but later backtracked as reported by The New York Times. He also had more assault weapons in the trunk of his vehicle, along with what appeared to be explosives.

The prime minister that he would be charged and tried in New Zealand.

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Police said they had released a preliminary list of the victims to families, which has helped give closure to some relatives who were waiting for any news.

Tarrant was not known to the authorities, Bush said, and had no previous convictions.

The alleged gunman has been identified by authorities as Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year-old native of Grafton, Australia.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed her office was one of more than 30 recipients of a so-called manifesto written by the accused Christchurch shooter, sent nine minutes before Friday's mosque attacks.

Tarrant has been remanded in custody until April 5, when he will appear again before the High Court in Christchurch. But it has one of the lowest gun homicide rates in the world.

During a Saturday press conference, Ardern said the gunman had two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns, and a lever-action firearm (five firearms in total).

I'm advised this was acquired in November of 2017.

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Accused New Zealand mosque shooter makes first court appearance