“This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
What We Know So Far
- Forty-nine people were killed after shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
- A man in his late twenties has been charged with murder. Three additional people were taken into custody.
- “It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
- Police found a number of improvised explosive devices strapped to vehicles.
- A gunman appears to have live-streamed video of the attack online and left a lengthy racist manifesto where he outlined a white supremacist motivation for the attack and described the victims as “invaders.”
- Police have gone to a property “of interest” in Dunedin, around 200 miles south of Christchurch.
- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that one of the individuals taken into custody is an Australia-born citizen.
- All mosques in the country were asked to “shut their doors” until further notice. Climate change rallies taking place across the city were evacuated.
A 66-year-old woman helped an injured man call his wife on the phone during the shooting
#ChristchurchMosqueAttack: "I'm 66 and I never thought in my life I would live to see something like this," says an eyewitness who helped an injured man call his wife on the phone during New Zealand's #ChristchurchShootings pic.twitter.com/KMfz5ekmAS
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) March 15, 2019
Jill Keats, a 66-year-old woman who helped treat an injured victim during the shooting and called his wife for him, is being hailed as a hero for her actions.
Keats was driving down Deans Avenue to go the mall when she heard what she thought were firecrackers and saw young men running down the street, Newshub, a New Zealand news outlet, reported.
“[But] all of a sudden it got quite violent, and I thought ‘That’s not firecrackers’ – and they just started falling,” Keats told Newshub. “One fell to the left of my car and one fell to the right.”
Keats said she stopped her car in shock and leaned over her seats to avoid the bullets. She saw that one of the men who was lying near her car had been shot in the back.
She then opened her car doors and, with the help of another driver behind her, put the injured victim in the back of her car to protect him from the gunfire.
The other driver went to get a first aid kid from his car, and they both began dressing the victim’s wound.
Keats said she was shaking so hard that a “nice Muslim guy came up and gave me some help” to compress the victim’s wound.
“The guy I was compressing, he was trying to ring his wife and I managed to get it and answer the phone and I said ‘Your husband’s been shot outside the mosque. Don’t come here to Deans Ave, you won’t get through – but please got [sic] to a hospital and wait for him,'” Keats recalled.
“Then I kept talking to him and telling him that she was at the hospital waiting and he wasn’t to give up,” Keats said.
Keats and the other driver held pressure on him until help arrived. She said that another victim who had fallen across the road had died while she was helping the injured man.
“I couldn’t get to him because that was where the gunfire was coming from,” Keats said.
When the Newshub anchor commended her actions and called her a hero, Keats shook her and said, “No, I’m not. You just do what you do at the time. I wish I could’ve done more.”
“I’m 66,” Keats said, breaking down after describing the devastating scene. “I never thought in my life I would see something like this. Not in New Zealand.”
Watch her full interview here.
In the US, the White House has condemned the attacks in New Zealand
“The United States strongly condemns the attack in Christchurch,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
“We stand in solidarity with the people of New Zealand and their government against this vicious act of hate.”
President Donald Trump subsequently tweeted his condolences.
My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2019