It may have all started Thursday afternoon when someone claiming to be a 28-year-old “ordinary white” Australian posted a chilling, 74-page manifesto on the internet.
The screed suggested he was about to carry out a murderous attack on Muslims in New Zealand, a country he said was “target rich” for his immigrant death wish.
No one seems to have paid much attention.
But at about 1:40 p.m. local time the next day, a white man resembling the manifesto’s author drove a light-coloured station wagon to a mosque in the centre of the city of Christchurch, hauled out a fearsome collection of firearms and calmly headed inside.
There he began a shooting rampage that would leave 49 worshippers dead at two mosques in the midst of Friday prayers, and dozens others injured.
This image from a self-shot video that was streamed on Facebook on March 15, 2019 by the man who was involved in two mosque shootings in Christchurch shows him holding a gun as he enters the Masjid al Noor mosque.
Much of his cold-blooded assault was captured and live-streamed on Facebook by a camera apparently attached to the shooter’s helmet, one of the most horrific uses ever of the web technology.
More than an hour later, the suspected gunman was arrested in a dramatic takedown on a Christchurch sidewalk, police later charging a 28-year-old man with murder. By then, the world was in shock.
“It is clear that this is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “Clearly, what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”
As is often the case with mass shootings, this one began with a jarring contrast between the peacefulness of routine daily life and the shock of unprovoked violence.
Portions of the killer’s 17-minute video viewed by the National Post and accounts of the full recording by some other news media document the first gruesome moments. Exact timing is unknown, but police say emergency calls about gunshots at Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch started arriving at 1:40.
The man fished a long gun from the front seat of the car, then walked around and opened the hatchback, revealing a number of other weapons, all covered in white writing, much of it referencing typical “heroes” and symbols of white hate groups.
This photo of rifle ammunition appeared on a now-deleted Twitter account from a user whose name matched that of the Christchurch shootings suspect. The names mentioned include …read more