The gunman suspected of killing 50 people in two New Zealand mosques sent his manifesto to state authorities just minutes before the shooting, PM Jacinda Ardern said, but “no specific details” were included.
The prime minister said she was among over 30 others who received the mailed manifesto just nine minutes before the tragedy unfolded. “It did not include a location, it did not include specific details,” she told reporters on Sunday.
Ardern added that the mail was transferred to the security services within two minutes after it was received.
Ardern made it clear that the timing of the email and the information it contained left too little time to respond.
I want to give assurances that [if it had] provided details that could have been acted upon immediately, it would have been. There unfortunately were no such details in that email.
Armed police were on the scene within six minutes of receiving an emergency call on Friday afternoon, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said. The suspect was detained in 36 minutes.
Speaking to journalists, Jacinda Ardern also confirmed that a total of 50 people died in the attack on Christchurch mosques, while 34 remain in the hospital. Twelve of them are in critical condition, including a 4-year-old girl. The shooter, 28, is set to stay in custody until April 5, with police saying he will face further charges.
Prior to the attack, the Australian-born gunman, Brenton Tarrant, posted a 74-page ‘manifesto’ titled ‘The Great Replacement’, in which he declared his hatred towards “Muslim invaders” and vowed to take “revenge.” Describing himself as a “regular white man from a regular family,” he said that his mosque shooting should send the message that “nowhere in the world is safe.”