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The Latest: New Zealand rugby match canceled for mourning

The Latest: New Zealand rugby match canceled for mourning

The Latest: New Zealand rugby match canceled for mourning
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark Baker
Police officers search the area near the Masjid Al Noor mosque, site of one of the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

The Latest: New Zealand rugby match canceled for mourning

The Latest on shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand (all times local):

2:40 p.m.

A Super Rugby match between the Christchurch-based Crusaders and the Dunedin-based Highlanders has been canceled in the wake of the shootings at two mosques that killed 49 people.

New Zealand Rugby spokesman Nigel Cass said the decision to cancel Saturday's game in Dunedin was made after an urgent meeting involving both teams, venue management and police.

Cass said police advised that the game could go ahead but both teams agreed to not proceed with the match as a mark of respect.

The Crusaders are the defending champions in Super Rugby, a competition that involves teams from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Japan and Argentina.

Crusaders chief executive Colin Mainsbridge says "yesterday's horrific attacks have left us all feeling stunned. All other issues and considerations pale in significance."


1:55 p.m.

Christchurch Hospital chief Greg Robertson says seven of the 48 gunshot victims admitted after Friday's mosque shootings in have been discharged.

Roberson says a 4-year-old girl who has been transferred to an Auckland hospital in critical condition and 11 patients who remain in Christchurch are also critically wounded.

 He says: "We have had patients with injuries to most parts of the body that range from relatively superficial soft tissue injuries to more complex injuries involving the chest, the abdomen, the pelvis, the long bones and the head."

He says many patients will require multiple operations to deal with their complex series of injuries.


1:40 p.m.

New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush says authorities have no information about any imminent threats in the country but everyone should continue to be vigilant in the wake of mass shootings at two mosques.

Bush told a news conference that the investigation into Friday's attacks that killed at least 49 was wide ranging and ongoing. When asked if they believed the same person was responsible for both attacks, he said he couldn't go into details, but "we know nothing that will contradict what you've just suggested."

Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old man, has been arrested and charged with murder. He appeared in court earlier Saturday.

Bush said it took 36 minutes from the first attack to the suspect's arrest.

The gunman posted a 74-page manifesto on social media in which he identified himself as Tarrant and said he was a 28-year-old Australian and white supremacist who was out to avenge attacks in Europe perpetrated by Muslims.


12:10 p.m.

Australian police say the family of the suspect in the New Zealand mosque shootings is helping their investigation.

New South Wales state Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says his officers are investigating to help New Zealand police and to ensure the safety of residents in the Australian state where suspect Brenton Tarrant is from.

Fuller says Tarrant's family is from the northern New South Wales town of Grafton and contacted police after seeing media reports of the shootings that killed at least 49.

Fuller says Tarrant has spent little time in Australia in the past four years.

Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Mick Willing says Tarrant was only known to police for "minor traffic matters."

Willing says there's no information to suggest any further threat in New Zealand or Australia.


11:35 a.m.

A man suspected in at least one of the shootings that killed at least 49 people at two mosques in New Zealand has appeared briefly in court.

Two armed guards brought Brenton Tarrant into court Saturday. He showed no expression as District Court Judge Paul Kellar read one charge of murder to him.

The court appearance lasted only about a minute and he was led back out in handcuffs. He was ordered to return to court again April 5.

After Tarrant left, the judge said that while "there is one charge of murder brought at the moment, it is reasonable to assume that there will be others."

The gunman posted a 74-page manifesto on social media in which he identified himself as Tarrant and said he was a 28-year-old Australian and white supremacist who was out to avenge attacks in Europe perpetrated by Muslims.


This item has been corrected to show the suspect appeared in court Saturday.


10:50 a.m.

There was strict security at the district court in Christchurch, awaiting a court appearance by a suspect in the killing of at least 49 people at mosques.

Authorities say most if not all were killed by an immigrant-hating white supremacist.

More than 10 armed officers guarded the courtroom even before the suspect entered. Nearly 50 reporters packed the courtroom in downtown Christchurch. Only a pool video and still camera were allowed in the room.

There did not appear to be any victims' family members there.


10:10 a.m.

New Zealand's prime minister says the "primary perpetrator" in the killing of at least 49 people in two Christchurch mosques was living in Dunedin, a seaside city south of Christchurch.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Saturday the Australian suspect has traveled around the world and spent sporadic periods in New Zealand.

Police say homes around a "location of interest" in Dunedin have been evacuated as a precaution. Two improvised explosive devises were found in a suspect's car.

At least 49 people were shot to death at the mosques. Authorities say most if not all were killed by an immigrant-hating white supremacist. He will appear in court on Saturday charged with murder.

Ardern says police are still investigating whether two more suspects who were arrested were directly involved in the crimes.


9:55 a.m.

New Zealand's prime minister says the "primary perpetrator" in the mosque shootings was a licensed gun owner and legally acquired the five guns used in the shootings.

Jacinda Ardern said Saturday the country's national gun laws will change after at least 49 worshippers were shot dead in the two mosques in Christchurch.

She did not specify how the laws will be changed.

The Australian suspect will appear in court on Saturday morning.


9:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump is downplaying the threat of white nationalism in the aftermath of a self-described racist's shooting rampage at a pair of New Zealand mosques.

Trump spoke in the Oval Office Friday, answering"I don't, really" when asked if he felt that the racist movement was a rising threat around the world.

He said that it was "a small group of people that have very, very serious problems."

Trump added that the shooting in Christchurch was "certainly a terrible thing."

An immigrant-hating white nationalist killed at least 49 people gathered for weekly prayers in a live-streamed attack. Another 48 people suffered gunshot wounds.

The alleged gunman, in a rambling manifesto, deemed Trump "a symbol of renewed white identity."


9:45 a.m.

A man who can't find out information about what happened to his father and two brothers in one of the New Zealand mosques that were attacked has pushed through police barricades in an effort to get closer.

A police officer stopped Ash Mohammed, who told the officer "we just want to know if they are dead or alive."

Mohammed said Saturday that he has repeatedly called cellphones for his relatives that rang unanswered and then appeared to have run out of battery power.

He says he has not heard from his father and brother since Friday, when they went to the mosque.

Mohammed says he had planned to join them for prayers but did not because an appointment he had with a lawyer about buying a house went late.

At least 49 people were shot to death at the mosques. Authorities say most if not all were killed by an immigrant-hating white supremacist.


9:20 a.m.

The Frenchman who coined the term "the Great Replacement" used as the title of the alleged manifesto by the New Zealand mosque attacker says his theory is "diametrically opposed" to the bloodbath at the mosques.

Renaud Camus said in an interview on Friday that the shootings by a white supremacist that killed at least 49 people are "totally contrary to what I defend."

Camus held firm to his notion that immigrants are replacing natives in France and elsewhere. He says it is a "changing of the people" that should be combated with what he calls "re-immigration" and not with violence.

Camus is 72 and developed his theory 20 years ago.

The term has been used more recently by French politicians opposed to immigration, notably far-right leader Marine Le Pen.


8:55 a.m.

Christchurch's mayor says graves are being dug for the dozens of worshippers who were shot dead in two New Zealand mosques.

At least 49 people were slain during midday prayers Friday.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel says city officials on Saturday were working closely with the community on the specific requirements of a large number of Muslim funerals.

Authorities say most if not all were killed by an immigrant-hating white supremacist.


8:40 a.m.

A senior Turkish official says the suspect arrested in the New Zealand mosque attack travelled to Turkey multiple times and spent what the official called an "extended period of time in the country.

He says the suspect may have also travelled to countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with Turkish government rules.

The official says an investigation is underway of "the suspect's movements and contacts within the country."

He did not say when the suspect travelled to Turkey.

— By Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey.


8:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump is pledging "any assistance" the U.S. can give New Zealand following deadly shootings at a pair of mosques.

Trump tweeted that "we stand in solidarity with New Zealand" after speaking with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The president says "any assistance the U.S.A. can give, we stand ready to help. We love you New Zealand!"

At least 49 people were shot to death at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, during midday prayers Friday.

Authorities say most if not all were killed by an immigrant-hating white supremacist.


7:55 a.m.

Officials say nine Indian nationals or people of Indian origin are missing after the mosque attacks in Christchurch.

India's high commissioner to New Zealand, Sanjiv Kohli, tweeted Saturday that nine people were missing and called the attack a "huge crime against humanity."

Indian officials have not said whether the nine were believed to be living in Christchurch.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a letter to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying that "hatred and violence have no place in diverse and democratic societies."

An immigrant-hating white nationalist killed at least 49 people gathered for weekly prayers in a live-streamed attack. Another 48 people suffered gunshot wounds.


6:55 a.m.

Lawyers for a gunman who killed six people at a Quebec mosque in 2017 say their client is troubled his name is being associated with the mass killings at two New Zealand mosques Friday that claimed at least 49 lives.

Charles-Olivier Gosselin and Jean-Claude Gingras released a statement Friday stating convicted killer Alexandre Bissonnette is not looking for his acts to be imitated or to serve as a model for others.

Bissonnette was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for 40 years. Both the prosecution and his lawyers have recently announced they are appealing the sentence.

Gosselin and Gingras say Bissonnette profoundly regrets what he did and has been very affected by the shootings in New Zealand.


6:40 a.m.

The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "is shocked and appalled at the terrorist attack" at two New Zealand mosques and is urging people everywhere to work better together "counter Islamophobia and eliminate intolerance and violent extremism."

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters Friday that the U.N. chief stresses "the sanctity of mosques and all places of worship."

Dujarric says Guterres also "calls upon all people on this holy day for Muslims to show signs of solidarity with the bereaved Islamic community."

The attacks by an immigrant-hating white nationalist killed 49 people and injured dozens of others.


3 a.m.

Swedish YouTube personality PewDiePie says he feels sickened that the alleged gunman in the New Zealand mosque attacks referred to him during a livestream of the shooting.

In the video posted on Facebook, a voice is heard saying "Remember lads ... subscribe to PewDiePie."

PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, says on Twitter that he's "absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person. My heart and thoughts go out to the victims, families and everyone affected."

PewDiePie is famous for his video game commentaries and has some 86 million followers. YouTube distanced itself from him in the past after he made jokes criticized as anti-Semitic and posted Nazi imagery in his videos. He has apologized.

He is engaged in an online battle with Indian music channel T-Series over which channel has the most subscribers. Supporters post messages encouraging others to subscribe to his channel, with the phrase "subscribe to PewDiePie."


2 a.m.

Pakistan's foreign ministry says four Pakistanis were wounded in mass shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal tweeted that five other Pakistani citizens are missing after Friday's attacks.

He said Pakistani diplomats in New Zealand are in contact with local authorities.

Separately, the ministry said Pakistan views the attacks as an "assault on the values of freedom of conscience and association common to all mankind."

It asked New Zealand to take immediate action to bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure the safety of the Muslim community.


1:30 a.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says at least three Turkish citizens were injured in attacks on Muslim worshippers in New Zealand and that he has spoken to one of them.

Addressing an election rally on Friday, Erdogan described a suspect in the attacks as "impertinent, immoral, vile and scum" and said he had chosen innocent worshippers as an easy target.

He told the crowd: "As Muslims, we will never bow our heads, but we will never fall to the level of these vile people."

New Zealand authorities have arrested and charged a man with murder in what appeared to be a carefully planned racist attack. At least 49 people died.

Dozens of demonstrators protested the shootings after Friday prayers in Istanbul.


1 a.m.

Indonesia's foreign ministry says two Indonesians, a father and his son, were injured in mass shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir says the father is in intensive care and his son is being treated at the same hospital. He declined to identify them.

The man's wife, Alta Marie, said on Facebook that her husband, Zulfirman Syah, and their son are being treated at Christchurch Hospital.

"My husband was shot in multiple places and has a drain in his lung and has been in surgery," she wrote. "I was recently united with my son, who has a gunshot wound to the leg and backside. He is traumatized."

At least 49 people were killed and 48 others were hospitalized as a result of the attacks Friday.


12:45 a.m.

Bangladesh's honorary consul in Auckland, New Zealand, says three Bangladeshis were killed in Friday's mosque attacks in Christchurch and at least four others were injured.

Shafiqur Rahman Bhuiyan says "so far" three Bangladeshis are among the 49 people killed in the shootings. He said two of the injured Bangladeshis are in critical condition.

He says one person's leg had to be amputated and another has gunshot wounds to his chest.

New Zealand health authorities say a total of 48 people are being treated at Christchurch Hospital for gunshot wounds.


12:30 a.m.

Facebook says it has taken down a video of shootings at a New Zealand mosque and removed the alleged shooter's accounts from its platforms after being alerted by police.

The man who allegedly carried out the shootings in Christchurch on Friday reportedly broadcast 17 minutes of the attack on a Facebook livestream.

Facebook New Zealand spokeswoman Mia Garlick said in a statement that the company is "also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we're aware."

She said the company "will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continues."

Both YouTube owner Google and Twitter also say they're working to remove video of the shootings from their sites.


12:15 a.m.

New Zealand health authorities say 48 people with gunshot wounds are being treated at Christchurch Hospital after mass shootings at two mosques killed 49 people.

The chief executive of the Canterbury District Health Board, David Meates, says the patients range from young children to adults and the injuries range from minor to critical.

Meates says 12 operating theaters are being used and some patients will need multiple surgeries.

He says about 200 family members are at the hospital early Saturday awaiting news about their loved ones.

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