Christchurch mosque massacre toll rises as police update on those arrested

The man charged in relation to the Christchurch massacre Brenton Tarrant gestures in the dock for his appearance for mur

"What I can say is that an 18-year- old man will appear in court on Monday but that arrest was tangential to this matter and we do not believe that he was involved in this attack either", Mr Bush said.

Tarrant was handcuffed and wearing a white prison jumpsuit when he walked into the courtroom.

Two other armed suspects were taken into custody Friday while police tried to determine what role, if any, they played in the cold-blooded attack that stunned New Zealand, a country so peaceful that police officers rarely carry guns.

She pronounced it "one of New Zealand's darkest days".

Police said the alleged shooter was arrested in a auto, which was carrying improvised explosive devices, 36 minutes after they were first called.

One of the two, a woman, has been released, and a man remains in custody on firearms charges, he said.

A series of vigils have now been scheduled around the country, while flowers were being left at cordons near the attack sites in Christchurch.

After the press conference, police commissioner Bush told reporters he "was very happy to hear the prime minister's comments this morning that there will be a change in the gun law, but I can't say any more than that".

Of those killed in the massacre, 41 died at the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue in central Christchurch, seven were killed at the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque, and one person died at Christchurch Hospital.

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Church services for victims of the attack were held around the country, including at Christchurch's "Cardboard Cathedral", a temporary structure built after much of the central city was destroyed in a 2011 natural disaster. Muslims account for just over 1 percent of New Zealand's population.

Twelve operating theatres worked through the night on the more than 40 people wounded, said hospital authorities.

"I still don't know where he is", she said.

Khokhur, 58, and husband Mehaboobbhai Khokhur, 65, had travelled from India to spend time with their son Imran, their first visit in the eight years since he moved to New Zealand.

Tarrant on Saturday was charged with only one count of murder, though Prime Minister Ardern assured the public that more charges will be added as the judicial process continues.

Later in the day, it emerged that he used five guns in Friday's attack, including two shotguns and two semi-automatic weapons.

Questions have been raised about why Tarrant had not appeared on a watchlist of New Zealand or Australian security agencies.

There are an estimated 1.5 million firearms in New Zealand, which has a population of only 5 million, but the country has had low levels of gun violence. The minimum legal age to own a gun in New Zealand is 16, or 18 for military-style semi-automatic weapons. Residents were mandated to turn in their semi-automatic rifles and other now-outlawed weapons.

Western leaders from Donald Trump to Theresa May expressed solidarity with New Zealanders, deploring what the White House called a "vicious act of hate".

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