For the latest updates www.odt.co.nz
4.11pm The gunman who attacked the mosque appears to have posted the shocking killing spree on Facebook.
Nineteen seconds of footage was posted on Christchurch Police Check Points page. The page is not connected with the police.
The video was taken off the site soon after it appeared.
4pm: There is a report at least 27 people are dead gunmen opened fire at mosques in Christchurch this afternoon, as reports of a bomb scare emerge.
Newshub is now reporting a source has told it at least 27 are dead.
A dead body has been seen lying near Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and a second gunman has been seen near Linwood Masjid mosque. One of the gunmen filmed as he shot victims.
A person who had been told by a man in the mosque said: “A gunman came in in with an automatic gun and opened fire, spraying it from side to side.”
3.53pm A man, who would only be known as Nour, who crawled to safety amid the carnage of the shooting, has told of what happened.
Nour was in the front row of prayers when the gunman came in.
“First he shot people outside. Then he came in the front,” he said.
He heard the gun being reloaded about three times.
The gunman began shooting in all directions. “I saw people drop dead in front of me. I was crawling to get away.”
“It was hitting the walls,” he said.
Nour crawled across the floor of the mosque to a window that had been broken by others as they fled and jumped through it.
He jumped over a neighbouring wall and ran around the block where he could still hear shooting.
3.34pm Police are at Christchurch Hospital searching for explosive.
3.33pm A person who had been told by a man in the mosque said: “A gunman came in with an automatic gun and opened fire, spraying it from side to side.”
The person said there could be up to 15 casualties.
A woman in the the Botanic Gardens Ilex cafe cafe says they have been told the gunman is now near or at Christchurch Hospital – but this remains unconfirmed.
People in the cafe have moved to the back of the building. Doors are all chain locked and no can sit near the windows.
Meanwhile, people are gathering outside the police cordon at the scene of the shooting cordon appear connected to the mosque.
Many of them are crying. People are slowly starting to merge from within the cordon, very distressed.
3.10pm A woman in the Ilex cafe said police had told them that they were in lock down because there was a gunman in the Botanic Gardens.
There are about 250 people in the cafe – about 100 of those who have come in from the gardens.
There had been a conference at the cafe. “No one has come in panicked,” she said.
Police have surrounded the Botanic Gardens.
The public should not attend Christchurch Hospital unless it’s an emergency.
All appointments have been cancelled this afternoon, and no staff or patients are to enter or leave the building.
• Reports gunman opened fire inside mosque in Christchurch’s Hagley Park
• Man describes running for his life as at least two gunmen opened fire
• Armed police also at second mosque in suburb of Linwood
• Police tell everyone in centre city to stay indoors
There are reports of multiple deaths after gunmen opened fire at mosques in Christchurch and police warn a shooter is still in large in the central city with reports he is in the Botanic Garden.
Newshub are reporting six people are dead and police have told people a gunman is in the Botanic Gardens.
Staff and members of the public have taken shelter in the Ilex Cafe.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said a serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter.
Police were responding with its full capability to manage the situation, “but the risk environment remains extremely high”.
Police recommend that residents across Christchurch remain off the streets and indoors until further notice.
Christchurch schools will be locked down until further notice.
Police thanks the public for their cooperation and will provide further updates to keep residents informed.
A Christchurch Star reporter saw a dead body lying close at Palazzo Lane near the mosque.
The body’s face has been covered with clothing.
Police said all Christchurch schools have been placed into lockdown.
Police urged anyone in central Christchurch to stay off the streets and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to 111.
Further information will be released as it becomes available.
A woman told the Christchurch Star she lay in her car near the mosque as four to five men came running towards her.
She was unsure if they were gunmen.
Moments earlier she heard what she thought was gunfire.
“When the noise got louder I saw four or five men running. I put my seat down and lay down so they wouldn’t see me.
“I didn’t think I’d live to see this happening in my country,” she said.
A report on Twitter said about 20 armed police were clearing buildings in Linwood, across from Eastgate Mall.
A roadblock was being set up around the Aldwins Rd/Linwood Ave intersection. A witness said he saw a man in handcuffs being led away by police.
Mohan Ibrahim described to the Herald running for his life to escape the gunman. He was one of 200 people in Christchurch’s Masjid Al Noor mosque
Benjamin Jellie said he ran outside when he heard gunshots.
“I saw people jumping over the back fence of the mosque into Oakward Close. I heard at least 20 [gunshots].”
“I heard about eight at the start and then it went quiet for about 30 seconds or a minute and then it started again. I heard about eight more and then there was another minute and another eight,” Jellie said.
“Those coming over the fence, all adults and including at least three men, were screaming and crying.”
He believed the injured were all conscious.
The injured were very quiet, Jellie said.
The Bangladesh cricket team was at the mosque for Friday prayer when the shooting started.
The team is in Christchurch to play New Zealand in the third cricket test starting tomorrow.
A witness who was outside the mosque said he heard shooting start at 1.40pm.
He saw people running outside.
The shooter carried on shooting for 10 to 15 minutes.
His father was inside the mosque and wounded and is currently in the ED.
He did not want to be identified. But they were worshippers at the mosque.
Mario Villavarayen, strength and conditioning coach of the Bangladesh cricket team said: “The players are shaken up but fine. I spoke to one of them shortly after [the incident]. They didn’t see anything but heard gunshots. They were at the ground [Hagley Oval] and just started running.
“The coaching staff were all at the hotel. The players just started running when they heard the shots. I don’t know how many [shots] there were. This happened at about 1.45pm.”
A taxi driver in Deans Ave told Newstalk ZB that a jogger in the park said shots had been fired inside the mosque.
“Police and ambulance are coming from every direction”.
Police told media at the scene the shooter was still at large.
Seven police vehicles and armed police are near the former hospital park and ride site on Deans Ave.
Media have now been told to move because it is unsafe.
Meanwhile a helicopter has landed outside Christchurch Hospital.
Armed police can be seen near the Christchurch Mosque, which is on Deans Avenue, near Hagley Park.
Police said in statement they received the reports at 1.40pm.
Armed police have been deployed.
Police urged anyone in central Christchurch to stay indoors and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to 111.
Further information will be released as it becomes available.
Ten emergency service vehicles are at the scene.
Police say it is an “evolving situation”.
An area in Deans Ave has been cordoned off and armed police are in attendance.
Deans Ave has been closed between Moorhouse Avenue and Riccarton Road. Road users are advised to avoid the area.
In Cathedral Square, a police officer asked for everyone to make their way home immediately.
The police officer said there had been an incident and students should go straight home.
Courtesy of ODT