At least 49 people were killed at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand around the time of midday prayer on Friday. A similar number are being treated for gunshot wounds. Police said they arrested a man in his late 20s, charging him with murder. The gunman seems to have worn a camera during his attack, streaming footage on Facebook. It also appears that shortly before the attacks, he posted a white supremacist manifesto Twitter and 8chan, an online forum known for hosting extremist right-wing discussions. The manifesto named both mosques, and the author said he was a 28-year-old Australian-born man. He wrote that he chose to use a gun to commit the killings in order to influence politics in the United States. By encouraging leftists to move to abolish the second amendment, he wrote, he could help foment an American civil war.
Friday’s events represent the first mass shooting in New Zealand since 1990, after which gun laws were tightened. Though there are over a million guns in New Zealand, annual homicide numbers have not risen above 11 since 2007. “This is and will be one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference after the shootings.