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Murder charge for New Zealand shooting suspect

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 16, 2019 - Duration: 02:25s

Murder charge for New Zealand shooting suspect

The main suspect in mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques was charged with one count of murder a day after an attack that killed 49 people and wounded dozens, prompting the prime minister to vow reform of the country's gun laws.

Ed Giles reports.

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Murder charge for New Zealand shooting suspect

New Zealand began burying its dead a day after at least one gunman attacked worshippers in two mosques in the city of Christchurch killing at least 49 people and injuring dozens more.

The main suspect's been identified as Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28 year old Australian citizen who'd been living in New Zealand He appeared in a Christchurch court on Saturday (March 16) charged with murder.

He was remanded without a plea, with his next appearance at the city's High Court set for April 5.

Police said he was also likely to face further charges.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Saturday it was clear that young children had been caught up in the attack, saying that the attacker had intended to continue the rampage when he was stopped by Police.

SOUNDBITE: NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER, JACINDA ARDERN, saying: "None of those apprehended had a criminal history either here or in Australia and as I said last night, they were not on any watch list either here or in Australia.

(FLASH) Given global indicators around far right extremism, our intelligence community has been stepping up their investigations in this area." Ardern also said Tarrant had a gun license and called for a change in gun laws in the country.

Reuters' Correspondent Charlotte Greenfield is in Christchurch.

(Soundbite) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT CHARLOTTE GREENFIELD, SAYING: "The security alert has also been lifted to high and you definitely really notice that, here in Christchurch last night there were helicopters flying back and forth, all night, you can sort of see police in certain places on the street and at airports with rifles, which you know for contrast, New Zealand is a country where usually Police don't even carry handguns." Leaders around the world expressed sorrow and disgust at the attacks, with some deploring the demonization of Muslims. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a social media post: "I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11." U.S. President Donald Trump, condemned the "horrible massacre".

Meanwhile, the broadcasting of the shooting on social media has raised calls for more regulations on tech giants.

Hours after the attack, copies of the video were still available on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as Facebook's Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all said they were taking action to remove the videos.

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