● Death toll stands at 49, while 48 are seriously injured
● Australian man Brenton Tarrant to face court charged with murder after livestreaming brutal attacks
● Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern flags “gun laws will change”
● Australia on high alert — extra police deployed to mosques
● World leaders, including British royals, share their horror
New Zealand has woken in grief and shock as it comes to terms with a heinous terrorist attack that killed 49 people in Christchurch yesterday.
Graves are now being dug for the dozens of worshippers who were callously shot dead by an Australian-born, immigrant-hating white supremacist as they gathered for Friday prayers at two of the South Island city’s mosques.
The world watched on in horror yesterday as the killer, who identified himself on Twitter as “Brenton Tarrant” from Australia, used a helmet-mounted camera to broadcast live video of the slaughter on Facebook.
The gunman — who is one of three over the attacks — will appear in court today charged with murder.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this morning emphatically declared that gun laws must change.
“While the nation grapples with a form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers,” Ms Ardern said.
She said a fourth person detained yesterday was a member of the public who was in possession of a firearm, but with the intention of assisting police.
That individual has since been released.
“None of those apprehended had a criminal history, either here or in Australia and they were not on any watch lists, either here or in Australia,” she said.
“I want to be very clear though, that our intelligence community and police are focused on extremism of every kind. Given global indicators around far-right extremism, our intelligence community has been stepping up their investigations in this area.
“The individual charged with murder had not come to the attention of the intelligence community, nor the police for extremism.”
THE WORLD MOURNS
Leaders around the world have expressed disgust and sorrow at the mass killing, while some also expressed anger at what they described as the demonisation of Muslims that fuelled such attacks.
Western leaders US President Donald Trump, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were among the many to express solidarity with the New Zealand people on Friday, deploring what the White House called a “vicious act of hate”.
DETAILS EMERGE OF AUSSIE KILLER
Here in Australia, NSW counter-terrorism police are investigating after the revelation that he is from Grafton.
In a vile 73-page manifesto posted online before, he described himself as “just a regular White man” who wants to “directly reduce immigration rates to European lands”.
The 28-year-old noted he was born “to a working class, low-income family … who decided to take a stand to ensure a future for my people”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the man is an Australian-born citizen. He called him “an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist”.
Sky News heard that the town of Grafton is in shock, trying to come to terms with how a “polite, well-mannered young man” came to find himself on a path that led to Christchurch.
He was a student at the local high school and went on to work at a gym, where his former boss said he regularly volunteered his time to train kids for free.
In April 2010, his father died suddenly of cancer aged 49, leading Tarrant to set off on a seven-year trip around the world.
It was at some time during this journey that former friends now speculate he was “perhaps radicalised”.
Posting on an 8chan forum, a user who identified himself as Tarrant announced he would carry out the attack.
“I will carry out and attack against the invaders, and will even live stream the attack via facebook,” he wrote, with a link to his Facebook page. “If I don’t survive the attack, goodbye, god bless and I will see you all in Valhalla!”
Many anonymous users responded praising him for the attack, with comments like “Godspeed” and “that video is so goddamn good”.
In the days leading up to the attack, Tarrant posted photos to his now-suspended Twitter account of what appears to be guns, ammunition and a military-style vest.
The weaponry is scrawled with references to ancient battles and more recent attacks against Muslims.
A HUGE ARSENAL
Ms Arden said this morning that five guns were used by the shooter — including two semi automatic weapons and two shotguns.
The New Zealand police have not yet identified the exact makes and models of the various guns used by the assailant.
However, Ms Arden said it is time for the laws to change.
“The offender was in possession of a gun licence. I’m advised that this was acquired in November of 2017. A lever-action firearm was also found,” she said.
“While work has been done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun licence and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now, our gun laws will change.”
Some of the guns appeared to be similar to the semiautomatic rifles used in a number of US mass shootings and equipped with large-capacity magazines.
Such weapons were used in the mass shooting at a movie theatre in Colorado which left 12 people dead in 2012 and the massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, that same year which left 26 people dead including 20 children.
New Zealand police remain on high alert. Christchurch residents are strongly urged to stay home.
“Police have additional patrols out on the streets of Christchurch to reassure the community,” said Ms Arden. “They have flown in 45 additional police staff to Christchurch with a further 80 staff arriving today. The additional police staffing includes public safety teams, detectives, tactical specialists and intelligence support.”