Police have swarmed the house of suspected white supremacist in Dunedin as mourners pay tribute to those who lost their lives in New Zealand’s worst terrorist attack.
Brenton Tarrant, 28, will appear in Christchurch District Court charged with murder on Saturday, after he allegedly stormed a mosque in Christchurch, opening fire with a semi-automatic shotgun and a rifle on about 100 defenceless people attending Friday prayers.
Authorities have confirmed at least 49 people were killed in the massacre and at least 40 were injured.
At about 10.45pm on Friday night, police descended on a property in Somerville Street, Dunedin, about four-and-a-half hours south of Christchurch.
Police said they attended the ‘location of interest’ in relation to Friday’s mass shooting.
Police have swarmed the house of suspected white supremacist in Dunedin
At about 10.45pm on Friday night, police descended on a property in Somerville Street, Dunedin, about four-and-a-half hours south of Christchurch – where they remain on Saturday
Australian-born extremist Brenton Tarrant (pictured), 28, is among the three suspected killers
Those who live in the nearby properties were evacuated as a precaution and were given alternative accommodation if needed.
At about 8.30am on Saturday a Fire and Emergency New Zealand Hazmat command centre arrived at the property – as police remain at the scene.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Saturday Tarrant, who grew up in Grafton in the Northern River region of Australia’s New South Wales, was a Dunedin resident.
Officers were led to the address as a car used in Friday’s attack was registered to home in Somerville Street.
Tributes have flown for the victim’s of Friday’s mass attack, with people all over the world paying their respect.
Christchurch residents have laid flowers at a makeshift memorial on Deans Avenue near the Masjid Al Noor mosque to mourn the victims.
Tributes have flown for the victim’s of Friday’s mass attack, with people all over the world paying their respect
At about 8.30am on Saturday a Fire and Emergency New Zealand Hazmat command centre arrived at the property in Dunedin – as police remain at the scene
Christchurch residents have laid flowers at a makeshift memorial on Deans Avenue near the Masjid Al Noor mosque to mourn the victims
Pictures show members of the tight knit community add colourful flowers and letters to the growing memorial.
A shooter entered the Al Noor Mosque on Friday during afternoon prayers and opened fire, capturing the attack on a camera strapped to his helmet.
The distressing video streamed to his Facebook profile shows the man firing more than 100 shots at those inside.
His guns were scrawled with the names of past mass killers and cities where the shootings occurred.
The gunman’s rampage began when he got into his car wearing military-style body armour and a helmet saying ‘let’s get this party started’.
He then drove to the mosque listening to a Serbian folk song glorifying war criminal Radovan Karadzic and military tunes before parking in an alley around the corner.
After retrieving one of at least six guns stored in his car, he walked up to the front door and began firing indiscriminately at worshippers inside.
Pictures show members of the tight knit community add colourful flowers and letters to the growing memorial
The terrorists opened fire at two mosques and a hospital in Christchurch, while a bomb was also found in the city’s south
Mourners have since gathered outside Christchurch District Court on Saturday morning where Tarrant is due to appear.
Police confirmed the court would be closed to the public due to a ‘heightened security risk’.
Two brothers who believe they lost their father in the massacre have made an emotional appearance at the court.
Omar Nabi, 43, and Yama Nabi, 45, shared photos of their elderly father Haji Daoud, 71, outside the Christchurch District Court on Saturday morning.
They told stories about how Haji, a father-of-five and retired engineer, moved to New Zealand from Afghanistan in 1977 and set up a new life as one of the ‘first Muslims in New Zealand’.
Omar (pictured) said his father was one of the first Muslims in New Zealand, opening the Tuam Street mosque in Christchurch, after discovering the country was a ‘slice of paradise’
Omar Nabi (right) and Yama Nabi (left) shared photos of their elderly father Haji Daoud, 71, at the Christchurch District Court on Saturday morning. The three people arrested by police in relation to the attack are due to face court on Saturday
But the family’s peaceful existence in the small island nation was forever changed when the brothers were told their father likely hadn’t survived his visit to Friday prayers.
‘I was told at 4.15pm that whoever did not make it … to the high school, they were deceased at the church, they were still there, the bodies were there,’ said Omar, who was running late.
The brothers have not had police confirmation their father is dead, just a warning he has likely died. They came to court because they desperately wanted closure.
Families continue to appeal for information on their missing relative following Friday’s attack.
There are fears for three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim who was last seen at the Deans Avenue mosque with his father and brother Abdi, Stuff reported.
Mourners have since gathered outside Christchurch District Court on Saturday morning where Tarrant is due to appear
Vigils will be held across New Zealand on Saturday to honour those who lost their lives
Abdi said he ran from the mosque as fast as he could and thought his family and friends would be at the hospital.
Vigils will be held across New Zealand on Saturday to honour those who lost their lives.
A peace vigil is scheduled for 2pm at Aotea Square in Auckland.
‘All communities, all faiths, everyone across the city and across the country is invited to stand together to offer aroha and show New Zealand is not divided by this – we proudly and loudly accept that we are just one people. We are Aotearoa.’
In Hamilton, a Love to Christchurch Vigil, is understood to be held at 8pm on Saturday at Claudelands Park.
Dunedin is planning to hold a vigil in the Octagon on Thursday March 21.
Dunedin, about 361 kilometres south of Christchurch, is located at the head of Otago Harbour on the South Island’s south-east coast.
The town, with a population of about 127,000, is known for Scottish and Maori heritage and a large student population.
Timeline of terror: How the Christchurch shootings unfolded
Friday March 15, 1.30pm local time (12.30am GMT): Gunman identifying himself as Brenton Tarrant live-streams mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque as Friday prayers are underway. The Bangladesh cricket team were on their way to the mosque at the time.
Another shooting takes place at a mosque in Linwood, 3.5 miles to the east.
1.40pm: Police respond to reports of shots fired in central Christchurch. People are urged to stay indoors and report any suspicious behaviour. Shortly afterwards, all schools in the city are placed into lockdown.
2.10pm: Police confirm they are attending an ‘evolving situation’ involving an ‘active shooter’
3.30pm: Two explosive devices attached to a car are found and disarmed by a bomb squad at Strickland Street, not far from the Al Noor Mosque.
4pm: One person confirmed to be in custody. New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush says there have been ‘multiple fatalities’ at two locations – both mosques. Mosques across New Zealand urged to shut their doors.
4.10pm: Prime minister Jacinda Ardern calls it ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days’.
5.30pm: Mr Bush says three men and one woman are in custody. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison confirms one of those arrested is Australian.
7.30pm: Ms Ardern says 40 are dead and more than 20 are seriously injured but confirms the offender is in custody
National security threat level is lifted from low to high.
7.45pm: Britomart train station in central Auckland is evacuated after bags are found unattended. The bags were deemed not suspicious.
9pm: Death toll rises to 49 and Police Commissioner Bush reveals a man in his late 20s has been charged with murder.
Police are not looking for any named or identified suspects, he says, but adds that it would be ‘wrong to assume that there is no-one else’.
11.50pm: Investigation extends 240 miles to the south where homes are evacuated around a ‘location of interest’ in Dunedin.
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