Wellington, March 15 (IANS) An active shooter is at large in Christchurch, New Zealand, after an attack on a mosque in the city on Friday, police said.
Witnesses told the media there were several casualties. Police warned people to avoid the area and all schools and a hospital were put in lockdown.
Eyewitnesses have reported running for their lives to escape the shooter.
Unverified footage purportedly taken by the shooter has emerged, suggesting he filmed as he shot victims.
The sequence of events remain unclear and mostly come via eyewitness reports the BBC.
Witnesses at the Al Noor mosque, located in central Christchurch along Dean Avenue, facing Hagley Park, reported seeing people bleeding on the ground outside the building, but this has not been confirmed by police or officials.
There are also reports that a second mosque in the suburb of Linwood has also been evacuated, the BBC said.
Mohan Ibrahim, who was in the area of the mosque, told the New Zealand Herald: “At first we thought it was an electric shock but then all these people started running. I still have friends inside.
“I have been calling my friends but there are many I haven’t heard from. I am scared for my friends lives.”
The Herald reports that the gunman is believed to be an Australian who has written a manifesto outlining his intentions. In it, he espouses far-right ideology and anti-immigrant ideology.