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Multiple Fatalities in New Zealand Mass Shootings; Multiple Fatalities in Christchurch, New Zealand, Mosque Shootings. Aired 12m- 1a ET
Aired March 15, 2019 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We are following the breaking news this hour from New Zealand, where police say there are multiple fatalities in an active shooting in the city of Christchurch. I'm George Howell.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Natalie Allen. Details are coming in quickly. We're working to sort through all the information for you.
Police say one person is in custody although there may be others still at large because there were two shootings reported. They happened at two mosques in the central part of the city. The first at Deans Avenue, the largest mosque in the city, and the other at Linwood Avenue. The prime minister Jacinda Ardern called it one of the darkest days in the country's history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: It has occurred in a place where people should have been expressing their religious freedom, where they should have been in a safe environment and they have not been today. There is no place in New Zealand for such extreme acts of unprecedented violence.
The people who were the subject of this attack today, New Zealand is their home. They should be safe here. The person who has perpetuated this violent act against them they have no place in New Zealand society.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: The prime minister of New Zealand there. And police are asking people to avoid central Christchurch at this hour. All schools in that city are locked down. Armed units have been deployed throughout the downtown area, as we hear from the police commissioner Mike Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMMISSIONER MIKE BUSH, NEW ZEALAND POLICE: This afternoon we are dealing with a very serious and tragic series of events in the Christchurch Canterbury area. They involve an active shooter and involve multiple fatalities. We have one person in custody but we are unsure if there are other people.
The multiple fatalities, as far as we know, at two locations, a mosque at Deans Avenue and another mosque at Linwood Avenue Christchurch.
Again, we are unsure if there are any other locations outside that area that are under threat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Police commissioner Mike Bush there. We thought there would be a briefing at this time but we're now told it may be 30 minutes from now, as police continue to work this situation. Meantime, they're telling all Muslims to avoid mosques this evening.
We've been hearing from witnesses over the past few hours, describing what they saw. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was around 1:45. I was stopped (ph). I heard the back (ph) sound of the gun. And a second, once I showed (ph), a lot of people were sitting on the floor. The gun was around the door. I ran behind the mosque and I sat in behind the (INAUDIBLE) and ran for the police. And the police take lots of time. And I did (ph) then I climbed the wall. The police force was near the telephone. (INAUDIBLE). I give them the report and tell to the police come in here, please come in.
I saw one gun hand in (ph) the floor and three others (ph) stop in here. There was lots of people dying and injured.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Let's bring in CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem in West Newton, Massachusetts, and CNN law enforcement analyst Josh Campbell, who's been with here us. He's following the story in Washington, D.C.
And Juliette, let's start with you, just getting your first impressions here because, again, we're talking about multiple casualties, multiple injuries, multiple scenes. And one happening, you know, in a short time after the other.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, so this is clearly a targeted and organized attack against a specific religion, obviously Muslims at a mosque. We would right now view this as a terror attack and a hate crime attack.
And we also were hearing reports of videos and, of course, a manifesto. So this is a group that wanted notoriety for going after Muslims.
The second thing that I would just take away now is almost the entire city is in lockdown. Children are separated from their families. They are urging people to stay inside. That is a clue to me that they at least have sufficient evidence to believe that they have not gotten everyone and they need people to essentially shelter in place.
I think the third aspect of interest right now will be obviously how many resources are needed in New Zealand right now. This is a pretty sophisticated police department. They've dealt with issues like this. There are crime and other issues, so I think this can be contained within the city.
KAYYEM: But certainly these are the factors we're looking at and just urging anyone in particular on the social media platforms at this stage, get this stuff off your platforms now. This is what the terrorists want and people should not be circulating or sharing it. We do not want to give more oxygen to these really evil people at this stage.
ALLEN: We were just looking at the map and you see how dense this city is.
How could that impact the police work that's going on right now?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: So they're going to need an infusion of resources. And we've been seeing the video footage of officers that have been responding. We also heard from authorities that there may be two locations they're looking at, possibly two mosques, which takes us to another level in the investigative phase.
We've been describing this initially, was this someone who just happened upon this target and decided to take life?
Or was this premeditated, was this planned?
The idea now we're dealing with two locations suggests that premeditation, this is someone who knew exactly what he was doing and was plotting it out and, as Juliette mentioned, appears to have done so, targeted these locations because they're mosques and houses of worship.
We've seen authorities now sending resources and assets out to various mosques. Authorities also recommending worshippers stay away from houses of worship.
And the second part is the investigative phase involving the person that they have in custody. Now the prime minister indicated they're not yet confident that this person acted alone, there may be other people out there. And until authorities have that confidence they're dealing with one person, not a group, not multiple people, we're going to continue to see this state of lockdown.
And they're not going to send out that all clear. We can't lose sight of the very human component. We're waiting for a press conference from authorities. As we speak, there are people wondering about the status of their families and friends that were in this location.
This is a heartbreaking time for those people. They need that information that hopefully we'll get from authorities in short order to try to get a status update on their loved ones.
Did they take people to a particular location to interview them or, tragically, were their loved ones involved in this incident?
So many aspects of this investigation that will continue on for some time.
HOWELL: It is important to point out, these mosques, these are soft targets that were attacked.
KAYYEM: So yes, obviously, so this is a challenge in any urban environment, in particular environments that are welcoming by nature, right?
A mosque, a church, a synagogue. They want people to feel comfortable and to be welcome into either their faith or a new faith. This has always been the challenge with religious institutions from a security perspective because the more security you put on them in terms of that access point, the more they sort of lose their flavor for who they are and what they are as a religion.
And this is true for mosques, of course, that are open to the public. There might be changes to those security protocols. You will see short-term changes obviously in New Zealand with increased presence.
I believe that in other nations, including the United States, which has seen a rise of anti-Muslim and anti-religious minority crimes, that mayors will want to deploy additional resources to these institutions exactly because they are soft targets.
You cannot make them too hard. They lose who they are and that's really important for those of us with faith and those of us who believe that these institutions have to be -- these places have to be welcoming.
ALLEN: Josh, I want to ask you too, as far as -- we don't know if they're still looking for another shooter.
It's been several hours now since the shooting happened, so with each hour that goes by, does it become harder to find this person?
CAMPBELL: So that's why it's so important for authorities, once they arrive on the scene. Obviously they want to neutralize the threat and ensure there's no existing threat to people in that location. Now that they have someone in custody, again, they haven't yet ruled out another subject.
What they're going to be doing is trying to conduct an interview with the subject, trying to glean, were they acting alone, were there others?
In some instances we've seen people they clam up, they don't want to talk. Other times we've seen people, depraved individuals, who are actually proud of what they've done and they want to tell authorities.
Now all the witnesses that were inside the mosque at the time are now additional potential witnesses.
They'll be interviewed by investigators in order to try to determine what did you see?
Was it one person with a gun, multiple people?
We can imagine authorities are looking at locations in and around the city trying to get CCTV footage.
CAMPBELL: What did they see, what did they have on tape that might show exactly what was taking place here?
And on the investigative side, they're going to want to dig into this person's life; everyone in this person's orbit, his associates, trying to determine were there people out there that knew what were coming, was this part of a network or group?
That will all be part of this lengthy investigation.
HOWELL: Juliette, we're getting some new information that all schools as we understand -- according to police, all schools remain locked down at this point.
ALLEN: It's like 5:00 there, so what does that tell you, Juliette?
KAYYEM: This is the hardest thing in emergency management.
The universal impulse, is where are my kids?
What has to happen right now you saw the prime minister and heard the prime minister talk about this is there is sort of forced separation at this stage and there's nothing that can be done to it because the vulnerabilities of exposing those children by getting them into school buses and having them wait is too great at this stage.
It is the worst moment, we recognize this for everyone there but it absolutely has to be done and suggests to me -- because it's a pretty direct move -- that they have at least, you know, sufficient concern that these -- that what they're here hearing, that there might be additional people, is true or they cannot, at least at this stage, say it's all clear, so you protect the children even if it means they are separated from their parents.
It is hard but it is absolutely the right thing to do at this stage for the city.
ALLEN: And we also reported earlier that there were some school children, as many are doing around the world, taking place in a climate change rally. So 1,000 kids have opted to go there and we haven't heard about any incident with that situation. We don't know where they were taken but that is another angle of this story as far as security that we're watching.
Josh, what do we expect to hear -- police are going to say something for the first time in about 20 minutes.
How much do you think they'll reveal this first time holding a news briefing?
CAMPBELL: There's always a balance in these situations because if there is an ongoing investigative aspect, another subject or associate, authorities have to make that decision.
How much do they disclose or how much do they protect in order to protect the integrity of the investigation?
This is community obviously in a state of fear. They don't know exactly what's going on, so it's going to be incumbent on authorities to provide as much information as they can, to tell them exactly what's happening and tell them what they don't know. That's just as important.
If they suspect there might be an additional person out there, obviously a very large area. If there could be someone else out there, the public needs to know that. They need to get a sense how long this investigation might go, if they have a sense of what they're dealing with.
Again, it's all about providing information to the public and authorities -- they've gotten better now -- unfortunately, in these incidents we've seen so many of them. But this critical time, where people are on the ground in a state of fear and don't have any information except as authorities provide as much information as they can.
ALLEN: The fact that guns are illegal in New Zealand; you can get a rifle but you have to have a license, that's for hunting.
The fact that there aren't guns on the street, there aren't people carrying weapons, does that affect what's going on right now as far as the investigation in trying to find the one person, maybe more who might be out there with a weapon?
HOWELL: Juliette, your thoughts on that.
KAYYEM: Right, so it's a rigorous or it's a license program, so obviously if they have one assailant you're going to determine how did they get the gun?
Did they bring it into the country, was it licensed or stolen?
Which may be actually the explanation here.
The second area you're going to look at, is there someone who came from or understood weaponry because of some involvement with either the military or public safety?
We just don't know that yet. But, you know, this -- the question of sort of access of weapons is a big one in New Zealand because, unlike here, where we have a much stronger inclination and more of the population who have guns, they do not -- that may also lead to hints in the investigation about who others might be because access is so difficult in New Zealand.
HOWELL: Josh, I also want to ask you, again, I want to talk about the timing of all of this, the timing of these schools that remain locked down. Juliette described it. It is necessary and must happen as there is a possibility there could still be other people at large.
But the question for parents who may be watching on, how long could that lock down continue?
Could it go on into the late evening?
CAMPBELL: It could indeed. And as we often describe an active shooter is active until it's not, until authorities have the sense of confidence they can send out the all-clear for the officers and the community. They're not at that point.
We've seen the map and resources moving in and out of the city. The police own the city right now. They own the streets. They're in a state of lockdown. Again, the goal is public safety, to ensure you don't have innocent people that are out on the street if there is indeed another person or other people that are out there.
And as Juliette mentioned, this is that period of time where parents want to know what's going on, police officers are having to make that calculation.
Do we want everyone in a state of place and shelter to keep them out of our way so we can conduct our investigation?
We can bet they're going to offer that and, again, they're not going to send out an all-clear unless they have a certain level of comfort. Again, it goes back to providing information to the public. What we need to do is hear from authorities to provide as much or little as they know right now because you have a population right now in a state of fear and they need that information.
One thing that is interesting I don't think we've hit on yet is the fact we have two possible locations right now that are potential crime scenes.
And again, if you're an investigator and you're looking at that, if there are two, could there be a third?
Could there be another possible location that was in the planning stages?
We know this signals premeditation. If there's another person out there, we can't lose sight of the fact there may be other additional targets. We don't want to speculate as far as what's happening on the ground.
But this is the calculation authorities are undertaking right now. Their focus in on public safety. They're going to keep that city in a state of lockdown until they're sure there's no lingering threat.
ALLEN: Juliette, I want to throw this to you. Unfortunately, the United States sees a lot of mass murderers and killings and people describe their fear. This is a country, this has never happened there before.
So what are people dealing with now as far as their psyche and already being fearful about this and the fact they've never experienced, no one, anything like this there in New Zealand?
KAYYEM: For better or for worse, I sometimes think for worse here in the United States, we are acclimated to the shock of the active shooter but not the surprise. In other words, we have a sort of level of acceptance of it. We're not happy about that.
But we have come to understand that. We do trainings in schools. We have active shooter trainings in the work force. We all know, you know, run, hide, fight in that order. It's part of who we are. That is not true in other nations like New Zealand that do not have a culture of violence, in particular, active shooter violence.
So exactly what you said, it's both shocking and surprising that this would happen. And then you have to add on the layer of, of course, it's a targeted community of Muslims in New Zealand, a minority in New Zealand, focused on a religion. There's hatred behind it.
I don't know who the assailant is but I know what animates something like that and that is going to be a shock to a nation that views itself as welcoming and supportive of all who come to it in ways that is going to take, you know, essentially years for New Zealand to recover from.
We have no idea of the extent of the fatalities right now. I suspect that they are sufficiently high, that this will be -- these will be numbers that New Zealand has never encountered before and will be, you know, a reckoning for a nation that never anticipated it.
HOWELL: Juliette Kayyem, thank you again.
Josh Campbell, thank you as well as we continue to follow this story.
Again, at this point in the storyline, we understand that witnesses, certainly, are telling, you know, people, investigators what they saw, their accounts of what happened. Schools remain locked down as we just spoke with our guests.
That means that parents will be separated from their children. They can't get their children as this thing continue Tuesday play out because there's still a possibility that there could still be people at large who were involved in the shooting. Stay with us. We'll continue to follow this on the other side of the
break. You're watching CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
HOWELL: We continue following the breaking news this hour. The shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. I'm George Howell, alongside Natalie Allen. Police say there are multiple fatalities, this after someone opened fire at two mosques in the central part of that city. They also say one person is in custody, though there they may still be others at large.
ALLEN: We do know schools are still on lockdown there about 5:30 pm there on a Friday. Authorities are asking Muslims still to avoid mosques this evening. Schools in the area, again, the students are still there. They have not been reunited with their parents.
You can imagine how that is affecting families. And police units are deployed throughout the city because there still could be a shooter out there, because there are reports of more than one location where this happened.
U.S. ambassador to New Zealand, Scott Brown, tweeted this a short time ago, "We're heartbroken over the events in Christchurch today. We stand with our Kiwi friends and neighbors and our prayers are with you."
HOWELL: Let's bring in CNN correspondent Anna Coren.
Anna, what are you hearing and seeing at this point?
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: George and Natalie, as you can imagine this is an evolving story so I know as much information as you do. But obviously this is still an active scene. The reason I say that is because a manhunt is underway.
One man is in custody. We believe he was the one responsible for the shooting at Deans Avenue, at a mosque there, the biggest mosque in Christchurch. We believe there were about 300 people inside that mosque, attending Friday prayers when the gunman walked in and started firing.
Obviously people were able to escape but we do understand that there are multiple, multiple fatalities.
Now at the same time, we believe that there was another shooting taking place at the other mosque just across town in East Christchurch. There are reports from witnesses that they saw up to five to six bodies at that mosque at Linwood Avenue.
But very interesting to note that it sounds like there were simultaneous attacks. As I say, one gunman has been apprehended. The other, if there aren't more, police don't know. They are currently searching for them as we speak.
And I know that you've noted during the coverage that police are due to hold a press conference. We're hoping that happens within the next 10-20 minutes and they will give us the most up-to-date information.
But there are reports from New Zealand outlets that the man responsible for the first shooting is a white male. His age in his 20s and that --
COREN: -- he is an Australian citizen. That is what we are hearing from New Zealand media outlets.
But you mention how Christchurch is now in lockdown. Obviously schools and mosques, they've asked for everybody just to stay indoors whilst this situation remains active. But we don't know the death toll, we don't know how many people have been injured.
But we have heard from prime minister Jacinda Ardern and she was attending a U.N. conference in Nairobi, Kenya and she held this press conference moments ago. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARDERN: People can see images live from Christchurch. It will be obvious to them that this is a significant event and I can tell you now, this is and will be one of New Zealand's darkest days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Now George, Natalie, there are also reports that the gunman, the first gunman at this mosque, that he was livestreaming it as it happened. We are obviously waiting for police to confirm that. But there are images on the Internet. Police are working to have those removed.
But this is, without doubt, an incident that has rocked New Zealand.
ALLEN: Absolutely. And obviously from that sickening notation there, livestreaming something, something very well planned. And as you just mentioned, new information, Anna, that the suspect they have in custody is believed to be Australian.
And as we've been saying, such an unprecedented act of evil there in New Zealand. Nothing like this has ever happened there before. Anna Coren, we know you'll continue to bring us more news there from Hong Kong. We appreciate it.
We do expect to hear from police, will hold a briefing at some point this hour and bring us information because, as we keep saying, multiple fatalities. We have no idea right now how many. Our breaking news coverage continues right after this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
HOWELL: Welcome back to our breaking news coverage here on CNN. In Christchurch, New Zealand, we have a press conference that's playing out right now. Let's listen in live.
BUSH: -- multiple fatalities at this point. I can't say how many but it is significant. They occurred in two locations, two mosques in Christchurch, one at Deans Avenue and one at Linwood Avenue.
Now police have those locations locked down. We have four people in custody. We don't -- we are not aware of other people. But we cannot assume there are not others at large. We have a number of schools on lockdown.
We're currently making sure we have enough staff to saturate the area with enough equipment to ensure that, when we release that lockdown, people can get home safely. We're in the process of that. It will happen very shortly.
[00:30:17] We are pouring resources into that area. Every available Canterbury and staff member and people nearby, other emergency services also, saturating that area with visibility to ensure that everyone who needs to get home can get so safely.
We are also setting up a facility, as we must, because this is absolutely tragic, there will be so many people affected, so that people can get more information. They will be worried about their loved ones. We don't have the identities of those people who have died as yet, because those locations are still on lockdown, but we want to make sure we setup a facility where people can phone in and get the information they need. That is an absolute priority. People are doing that at the moment.
As you can imagine, this is requiring every police and emergency resource that we have available. We have defense force, aircraft here in Wellington ready to fly more resources into the area. We'll do that from other locations nearby, as well.
So I want to assure the public we are doing everything we can to make sure there is no more harm to their communities.
As I said, I will be back to speak to you more this evening with more detail. I will open up for some questions, but it's quite possible I won't be able to help you out with any more detail; and I do have to return to work to brief others.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Commissioner, is there any other indication (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this one?
BUSH: No, not at this stage. Four are in custody. Three are men and one a women -- one is a woman, as I understand it. It's moving quite quickly, so I need to frame that in that way, that that's what we believe at this moment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we know anything about motivation at this point?
BUSH: Not conclusively. We're working our way through that, as well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you classify this a terrorist attack?
BUSH: We are still looking the circumstances that surround that. It is -- doesn't get any more serious in this country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you aware there's a video on social media circulating about?
BUSH: I am absolutely aware. I have seen social media footage. It's very disturbing. That shouldn't be in the public domain, and we're doing everything we can to remove it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did you apprehend the attackers?
BUSH: There was -- the attackers were apprehended by local police staff. There's been some absolute acts of bravery. I'm hugely proud of our police staff, the way they responded to this.
But let's not presume that the danger is gone. So we want to make sure that we're right across that community, we're as visible and equipped as we need to be to make that happen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were reports of a car bomb. Can you tell us about that?
BUSH: I can tell you that there were a number of IEDs attached to vehicles that we also stopped. They've been made safe by the defense force. But that does go to the seriousness of this situation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it right that an attacker (UNINTELLIGIBLE) wearing explosives?
BUSH: That person has been made safe. We're still working through that, but we believe there was a claim, but that person is absolutely searched.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that an indication that there might be up to nine suspects? Can you confirm that?
BUSH: No, I can't confirm that. I can confirm that we have -- our staff have arrested four people. I won't assume there aren't others, but I don't have information to that effect.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people who have been apprehended, were they known to police? BUSH: I can't go into that detail either. That detail will unfold in
the next few days. That's all I can say at this stage. But I'm absolutely conscious that the public needs to be informed, kept informed of this. We have to my left a host of communications staff who will make that happen. But as you can imagine, we have so many operational staff that are absolutely committed to this operation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A source says police are going to be armed, have been instructed to be armed for the next week. What can you say about that?
BUSH: Of course our staff will have access, immediate access to the equipment they need to keep themselves and the communities safe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are officers outside of Christchurch being armed, as well?
BUSH: Yes, we're not assuming that this is contained to Christchurch. We have no other information to suggest it is. But at this point in time, we should never make assumptions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry, it's time to wrap now.
BUSH: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Police commissioner there, Mike Bush, telling us actually four people in custody. That is new information. One female.
[00:35:00] Also, as you just heard, he was asked could there -- could there be up to nine suspects. He did not have information on that. Still no word on how many people were killed in this, because they still don't know because they're investigating those scenes.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The map here gives you an indication of where these two mosques are. One of the mosques, the Al Noor Mosque, we understand that's on Deans Avenue, and the other mosque, the smaller mosque on Linwood Avenue there in Christchurch.
The police commissioner telling us that schools remain on lockdown there. What that means for parents, it means that parents cannot get to their kids yet. Kids remain in school at this particular point as investigators say that police are saturating this area. They're making sure that law enforcement is seen in all corners of that city, as they ensure that there are no other people at large in this situation.
Again, the police commissioner -- this was interesting -- stopping short of calling this a terrorist attack. It does seem that they're waiting to, of course, make sure they understand all of the particulars around what happened before making that assertion. But certainly, this is a terrible attack. The prime minister of the nation calling it one of New Zealand's darkest days.
ALLEN: And he said, "Let's not presume that it is over."
ALLEN: There still could be danger out there.
We want to bring in our national security analyst Juliette Kayyem from Massachusetts, and CNN law enforcement analyst Josh Campbell.
You've been listening to this. We also learned that they also recovered IEDs, bombs that had been put in cars. To you, Juliette. After hearing this, what do you make of this, and also the fact that there was a situation where this was, in part, livestreamed, how sickening, on social media? And apparently, as he said, they're trying to make sure that is taken down.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, let me start with that part. So obviously, this is a concerted -- and I'll call it a terrorism attack. It just seems too well-planned, too many people. The target is a religious community.
And we don't know what's in these manifestoes or the videos, but at least at this stage, this looks like, you know, similar to what we saw in London on July 7 and, obviously, multiple -- a multiple attack event.
So on the videos, the terrorists want notoriety. They want us to know what they believe and their anti-Islam sentiment, presumably. The social media platforms, you know, I can't be stronger enough, get this stuff down. It is possible for them to do it. People should not open it. They should alert the social media platforms if they see it. This not -- there's nothing funny about this. This is -- you're propagating what the terrorists want. You're sort of -- you know, I would say you're sort of abetting the crime if you open this.
I think my big takeaway from Mike Bush's report, one, is that this is continuing. Basically, that was a "Can everyone just give us a few more hours" type of press conference. He just needs more time. They are not sure they have everyone.
And the second was, of course, the apprehension of four people. Surprisingly, although he wavered on it, he believes one of them was a woman and did mention that at least one of them may come from Australia, suggesting, you know, an outside national influence.
So we will see more. But my big takeaway is they need more time. They are not convinced this is over.
ALLEN: And Josh, we're going to get to you next, but first, we have some new images we want to share with our viewers. What appears to be the viewpoint of the attacker. These are screen grabs from a video apparently filmed by a body cam on the attacker. It's not been verified by either CNN or local police.
HOWELL: Yes, one of the images showing what apparently is a trunk of a vehicle with what looks to be like guns. Another is from the front seat of a car with the apparent attacker holding the weapon. And another is the attacker's view from outside the mosque. It's unclear whether this is video from the first or second of the two mosques that police say were attacked.
And I do want to read this tweet coming in from police. New Zealand police have tweeted that they are aware of the shooting video posted online. Police say they are aware that it is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident. We strongly urge the link not be shared. We're working to have that footage removed, but that is the video footage that they're so concerned about at this point.
Just to get a sense, I want to ask you, Josh, IEDs on vehicles, that's another thing we learned from the police commissioner, and apparently, they have been deemed not a threat at this point.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes. Well, you look at the level of sophistication here is actually striking. Now, when these types of incidents happen, the first thing, obviously, we always ask, is this one person? Is this multiple people? Is this a planned attack? Is this one person who is just acting on some grievance that day and then went into the facility?
This is none of that. This is a sophisticated attack. Now as we know, based on the level of you have two separate locations. You have multiple people that are involved. The magnitude, just the very nature, that you have more than one person, cannot be underscored for investigators. That then moves this into a different phase.
[00:40:10] Now, you talk about the IEDs, for example. The one thing that I hearken back to whenever I heard that, one of the investigations I worked inside the FBI was the Mumbai attack from 2008, just 10 years ago, which involved multiple gunmen, a coordinated attack, who also had IEDs that they had taken along with them. Which again, shows that level of sophistication.
Now, from an investigative standpoint, the one question that I have, among many that -- many of us have right now is what was the exit strategy here? What was the plan? If you had this type of weaponry and these devices that were not detonated, what -- what caused these people to either surrender, or, you know, what was the circumstance surrounding their actually -- their being taken into custody? That we don't yet know, but that will be a key part.
And obviously, the larger picture, if you have four people, that's not to say you won't have five people.
This is now the most important investigation not only in New Zealand but among the foreign partners that work very closely with that country. I mentioned that New Zealand is part of what they call the five-eye sharing agreement. That's New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United States and Great Britain.
And we can bet that right now, at intelligence agencies in those countries, these officers are now looking through their own holdings, through their own intelligence collection capabilities, trying to determine, do they have anything that can help their partners in New Zealand try to determine what exactly is taking place there, and more importantly, to ensure that there aren't additional people out there right now that need to be taken off the deck.
ALLEN: Right. And to you, Juliette. The fact that guns are illegal, except for licensed to hunt in New Zealand, how surprising -- or is it to you -- that such a large coordinated attack with IEDs and multiple weapons, as we can see from the pictures, were involved in this and happened in a place that's never seen anything like this?
KAYYEM: Right, so it's absolutely shocking, and people -- you know, in New Zealand this is a shock to the system, because they don't have this level of violence that, unfortunately, we may have gotten used to in the United States.
But it also is a clue. Because of the lack of guns in New Zealand, it either means that it was imported or illegally brought into the country or it's owned by someone who is registered, or it may have been part of a military or law enforcement training or activity. And you could maybe figure out who -- whether the assailants had ties to those communities.
So it does limit your pool, in particular of interest is -- was this weaponry brought into New Zealand and how, just given that they do not have this kind of weaponry there.
And so that's going to just be a level of investigation, as Josh was saying, that is going to lead you to others and to the sort of access question. How did they get the guns? How did they get the IEDs in a country like New Zealand?
HOWELL: Juliette Kayyem, thank you again; Josh Campbell, as well, for the understanding of what's happening here.
Again, to our viewers around the world, four people in custody in this situation in Christchurch, New Zealand. Three men, one woman. Investigators not aware of others who may be involved but not ready to call the all-clear either. Schools remain on lockdown, and that area is saturated with law enforcement keeping watch and continuing to investigate.
Stand by, stay with us and we'll have more on the other side of the break.
[00:45:31] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
HOWELL: Following the breaking news from New Zealand, Christchurch, where police say that there are multiple fatalities in several shootings in that city.
I'm George Howell.
ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen.
Moments ago we heard from the police commissioner, Mike Bush, saying four people now in custody. Three men and one woman. He also said he's aware there is social media footage of one shooting and that it should not be released. He appealed that this be taken down.
The attacks happened at two mosques in the central part of the city as you can see here. As you can see here, one Deans Avenue. That's the large mosque. And another one, Linwood Avenue. We also heard from the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern. She called it one of the darkest days in the country's history.
HOWELL: And as you see the map there, police are asking everyone to avoid the central part of that city, keeping in mind that schools remain locked down. What that means is that parents are not able to get their children. We're talking about 6 p.m., so well past the time the kids should be coming home. That separation certainly playing out to the anxiety of many parents.
Police also telling Muslims to avoid mosques throughout the evening and throughout the entire country. And armed units are deployed within the downtown area. We heard from the police commissioner, Mike Bush, saying that that area is saturated with law enforcement.
ALLEN: He did not say how many people have been killed. We only know multiple people have been killed, and they're setting up an information area for people to try to get information on loved ones.
Let's go now live to Auckland, New Zealand, and TVNZ's Anna Burns- Francis joins us now.
Anna, certainly this country in shock about what has just taken place. What other information are you hearing about who carried this out?
ANNA BURNS-FRANCIS, TVNZ: Well, that's right. This is still a developing situation, but we have now been able to confirm that the alleged gunman, the man we believe is responsible for this, is an Australian national who's been living in New Zealand by the name of Brenton Tarrant.
So we have information that we believe was posted by him on the Internet before this attack was carried out, where he posted a message about his intentions, posted a 37-page manifesto containing a number of statements about why he believed New Zealand should be the place to carry out this attack and why he compared this attack to other incidences around the world that have occurred.
And we also understand that he released, or seemed to link, rather, to what then turned out to be a live video stream of the attack. It is a very graphic video. As you say, police have requested that that not be shared and that doesn't be released. And authorities in New Zealand have requested that YouTube, Facebook and Twitter remove links and remove postings of that video.
HOWELL: Just want to point out, CNN has not yet confirmed the name of the alleged shooter, but again, you're saying that investigators are certainly looking into all the elements around it, this live streaming video situation that is certainly problematic. And police telling, you know, anyone not to look at it, asking social media platforms to take it down. If you could just give us a sense of what's happening in that city at
this point. We understand schools remain locked down. People are told to remain indoors and police saturating that area.
BURNS-FRANCIS: All emergency services from around New Zealand have been deployed to Christchurch City this afternoon. It is the biggest city in the South Island. It's a near coastal city, and it is the hub for the South Island.
So we have police, ambulances, fire service all on standby and all working to de-escalate the situation and clarify how many more offenders may be out there or involved in this attack.
We also have the defense force, our highest tactical team, the SAS, deployed to Christchurch. That tells you, or tells New Zealanders rather, how serious authorities are taking this.
Airspace is now open. The airport is operating with heightened security in place. But like you said, schools are still on lockdown. School here finished 3, 3 1/2 hours ago, and parents are unable to go and pick up their children.
Government departments in the city, counsel areas, public bureaucratic buildings are also all shut down and remain locked down. Supermarkets have also closed for the evening.
ALLEN: And I also want to find out if you have any more information on possibly the victims here, how many people may have been killed. Police said they haven't I.D.'d them yet. So right now there are so many people that haven't heard from loved ones. Any idea how many we're talking about?
[00:50:17] BURNS-FRANCIS: Well, we have nine confirmed deaths across the two attacks at the two mosques. At the Al Noor Mosque, initial reports were between five and six people seemed to have been killed there. And then, of course, there was the second attack at the Linwood mosque, as well, where we understand there were more fatalities.
Obviously, a very distressing time for those people who witnessed the attack, who were in the mosque at the time of the attack, and who now are trying to find out who of their friends and family has been killed or have been injured in this shooting.
Police have said that they've set up a hub to try and get some information flowing directly to those friends and family, but it will still be many hours before there is any clarification about who has been killed in this attack and how many more people have been injured.
HOWELL: And I just want to make sure if you'll just reconfirm, so nine confirmed, this according to your news agency, correct?
BURNS-FRANCIS: Yes, and -- that is correct. We have reports of nine confirmed dead and dozens injured.
HOWELL: Thank you. ALLEN: And Anna, can you speak to the fact that this -- this type of incident, a mass shooting has never happened, never occurred in New Zealand before, and just the shock and the reaction that you're seeing there and what's coming into the newsroom about that.
BURNS-FRANCIS: This definitely has taken everyone in our newsroom by shock, and from the sentiments we've had from people we've spoken to on the street, that our crews have spoken to in Christchurch and around the country, this is a deeply unsettling, disturbing attack. We have never witnessed anything like this before in New Zealand.
Certainly, of course, there have been incidents with guns, but this is very clearly a targeted, very calculated attack. The manifesto itself talks about a terrorist attack and talks about the reasons for that being that New Zealand being considered a safe, tranquil, quiet location shows that this sort of attack can happen anywhere in any country, no matter how safe you are.
Of course, sentiment like that is very worrying and very troublesome to not only the Muslim population in New Zealand but all New Zealanders across the country.
HOWELL: Anna Burns-Francis with TVNZ there. Thank you again for your time and updating us on what your news agency has learned at this point.
We will continue to follow all the developments and bring you more after the break. Stay with us.
HOWELL: We are following the breaking news this hour from Christchurch, New Zealand. Two mosques that were attacked, multiple fatalities, multiple injuries. One mosque at Deans Avenue, the Al Noor Mosque, which is the largest in that city. The other mosque, a smaller mosque, Linwood Avenue there.
Let's bring in now Chris Lynch from Newstalk ZB Radio in Christchurch.
ALLEN: Yes. Chris, we heard from police 30 minutes ago that said don't assume the danger is over, even though four people are in custody. What's the latest on the situation there?
CHRIS LYNCH, NEWSTALK ZB RADIO, CHRISTCHURCH (via phone): You're completely right, yes. Although we have at least four people in custody, including one woman, I've just spoken to somebody at the emergency department at Christchurch public hospital, seeing the doctor there.
They're still concerned, because they're getting reports from across people who have witnessed some of these attacks that there may be more shooters.
Now, I don't want to sound alarmist, but that's just the way this situation is unfolding. To give you some context, you know, Christchurch City is a population
of about 420,000. It's a very peaceful city. And that the mosque in Christchurch, in downtown Christchurch City is not -- I guess you could say is kind of like the friendly neighborhood mosque, because every year once a year the mosque opens to the family -- I'm sorry, to Christchurch residents and the media and say, "Come on in. This is the situation."
To give you some context, too, I believe on estimate, it's probably about 40 -- 40,000 people across Christchurch City in lockdown right now. Most schools remain in lockdown. Parents, as you can appreciate, are feeling so anxious. It's now nearly 6 p.m. in New Zealand, and school finished at 3 p.m., but they're being told to stay indoors.
HOWELL: Chris --
[00:55:19] LYNCH: With all these types of situations, the reports are conflicting, but it is feared that potentially 30 people could be dead from the shooting.
Now, I tried not to watch the disturbing footage that has been circulating on the Internet, but I've seen the start of it, and it does show an attacker going inside the mosque in Christchurch, and this person starts shooting people.
I've seen some of the images that's been circulated on social media. You know, they all look (UNINTELLIGIBLE). From what I can see, they're all look like white men in their 20s or 30s, 30 years of age.
But I'll tell you what. I've been broadcasting in Christchurch for seven years. We've been through one hell of a fight. We had the devastating 2011 earthquake. We've had wildfires. And there was a sense of normality that started to come across the city. I would say, actually, in the last sort of four or five months, that the city was, you know, getting back on its feet.
There's always that word that's overused that comes to disasters as resilience. But I can tell you, as a talk host here at the radio station, I feel defeated. I feel low and I just -- my heart goes out to all the people that will be affected by this today. So it's just an absolute awful tragedy.
HOWELL: Chris, I just want to get a very quick update from you, because all of your reporting earlier has certainly borne out, that there were two mosques that were attacked. I want to ask you, very briefly, any more information about that situation that may have played out around the Christchurch hospital that you mentioned?
LYNCH: No, it's still very fluid at the moment. We don't know those details. Obviously, the main avenues of Christchurch, where the hospital is situation -- situated, sorry, that remains cordoned off. There was some concern that there could have been another gunman there. That is not confirmed.
But there still appears to be some strong police activity outside a major high school, which we understand, they're involved in prayers on a Friday afternoon. That's unconfirmed.
There is also some reports of police activity at another high school on the outskirts of Christchurch in a more rural community of Lincoln.
And so, you know, we have these types of situations. You have a lot of conjecture, a lot of conflicting information. But at this stage, the confirmation is at least two mosques, one in Central City and one in Linwood, about three Ks east of the city. That's where the attacks have occurred.
ALLEN: Chris Lynch, we appreciate your reporting so much. We hope to talk with you again. We appreciate it.
We will continue to bring you the latest and reset the story at the top of the hour. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell.
Stand by. More news after the break.