Stories are filtering in about what took place Friday during the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed at least 49, and by all accounts they're terrifying. ABC News reports on worshippers diving under benches and leaping over fences to get away from the gunfire, with some initially not registering what was going on. "I thought at first it must have been somebody banging on the window," one witness says. A woman driving by one of the mosques told local media she thought she just heard fireworks. "Everyone was in chaos, just running for their lives," a teen witness tells TVNZ. Now, in the aftermath, the Muslim community in Christchurch waits to get word from missing friends and family. "Nobody's answering their phones," a rep for the Islamic Women's Council of New Zealand tells the New York Times. “We don’t know if they’re at the hospital or out of reach." More on the attacks:
- In custody: The AP notes so far there are three people in custody; one man has been charged with murder. Police were still determining what roles the different suspects may have played in the attacks.
- On the guns: At least two rifles used in the shooting were said to include two things of note: the number 14—which the AP says could refer to the white supremacist "14 Words" slogan—and scrawled references to 11-year-old Ebba Akerlund, who was killed in a 2017 terror attack in Sweden. (The Daily Beast has more specifics on Ebba's story, including how her father is "mortified" at the use of her name.) The gunman also reportedly listened to music glorifying Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic.