New Zealand Attacker Purchased All Firearms Legally Mark Mitchell-Pool Getty Images16 Mar 2019
17 March, 2019, 04:38
"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.
The Christchurch attacker could have killed even more people as he was on the move at the time of his arrest, and had more firearms in his vehicle, New Zealand's PM said, praising police who responded to the call in just 36 minutes.
Wearing a black scarf, Ardern hugged members of the Muslim community at a Christchurch refugee centre, saying she would ensure freedom of religion in New Zealand.
Ms Ardern has been fulsome in her praise of police officers and emergency services, as well as defence specialists for defusing improvised explosive devices.
Hungry for any news, families and friends of the victims gathered at the city's Hagley College, near the hospital.
New Zealand has in the past tried to tighten firearm laws, but a strong gun lobby and culture of hunting has stymied such efforts. "But we are so aware of the cultural and religious needs, so we are doing that as quickly and sensitively as possible", Bush said.
'Those decisions have yet to be taken, ' he told Radio New Zealand.
The suspect had five guns with him during the attack, described by multiple media outlets as "two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns, and one lever-action firearm".
Hagen Hopkins via Getty ImagesPrime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament on Friday.
"For them to come to what they thought was a safe country and end up facing a shocking incident like this is really sad to hear", says Mark Greenhill, news director for New Zealand's news website Stuff.
She is calling for gun reform in the wake of the killings. Armed police were deployed at several locations in all cities, unusual in a country where levels of gun violence are low. Ardern suggested "now is the time for change" and hinted she was closely looking at rules regulating ownership of semi-automatic weapons.
He said the Fijian people stood with their Pacific family in this time of suffering and sadness, and we condemn all forms of hatred and terror.
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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From time to time people outside the cordon came to place flowers under a tree to express their condolences to the victims. The prime minister recalled that there were attempts to change the gun laws in New Zealand back in 2005, 2012 and in 2017.
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