President Donald Trump on Friday offered his “warmest sympathies” to the people of New Zealand after a gunman killed at least 49 people in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch.
New Zealand police say that a 28-year-old man has been charged with murder for the attacks, during which a shooter opened fire on two mosques full of worshippers at Friday prayer, killing 49 and injuring 48. They said that two more have been arrested in connection with what they called an “unprecedented” attack, and that they had defused explosive devices in a car.
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In a tweet, President Donald Trump mourned the shootings as a senseless loss of life and offered support to New Zealand.
“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,” he wrote. “The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday said in a statement that “the United States strongly condemns the attack in Christchurch,” adding that “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.”
The Associated Press reported that a man claiming responsibility for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto explaining his reasoning for the attack, saying that he was an Australian and a white supremacist.
Police have not confirmed whether the manifesto belonged to the shooter but Australia’s prime minister has said an Australian citizen had been detained in connection with the shooting.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the mass shooting “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence” and said that the attacks were “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
She also hinted at an anti-immigrant motive, saying in a news conference that the culprits likely hold “extremist views,” that they “have absolutely no place in New Zealand” and that many of the victims may have been migrants or refugees.