Armed attacks Friday on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killed at least 49 people and injured dozens of others in what authorities called an act of terrorism.
Four people – three men and one woman – were in custody Friday evening, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said. One of them, reported to be a 28-year-old Australian man with extreme anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views, has been charged with murder and will appear in court on Saturday.
The attacks stunned a small nation known mostly for its friendly people and scenic countryside where parts of the “Lord of the Rings” movies were filmed. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
Ardern initially said Friday afternoon that 40 people had been killed in the mass shootings. New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said later that the death toll had risen to 49, with the most of the dead gunned down at the Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch. Several more people were killed at another mosque in the Linwood neighborhood across town.