At least one gunman has opened fire at a Christchurch mosque and one other religious site, with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern confirming 40 are dead, with more than 20 more injured. According to reports, a shooter live streamed the horrific murder spree - an act of evil that has sent shockwaves around the world.
Four people are now in custody - three men and one woman. Among them is one alleged gunman.
The Sydney Morning Herald report: "The former president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury, Mohammed Jama, said a man with a gun went into the mosque about 1.40pm on Friday."
Witnesses described a man wearing a 'helmet and glasses and a military style jacket' enter the mosque and begin shooting.
Unconfirmed media reports have identified the suspect as a 28-year-old Australian citizen, who has reportedly identified himself publicly on Twitter as ‘Brenton Tarrant’.
A lengthy manifesto allegedly written by the suspect has been posted on social media and has been seen by WHO - if authentic, it would confirm an extremist political and ideological motive behind the shocking crime.
One shooting was at Masjid Al Noor on Deans Ave and the Linwood Masjid on Linwood Ave. A number of explosive devices have been found in cars.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed the shock of the nation, as she called the crime 'an unprecedented act of violence, an act that has absolutely no place in New Zealand.
'This is not who we are.
'The people who were the subject of this attack today, New Zealand is their home. They should be safe here. The person who has perpetuated this violent act against them, they have no place in New Zealand society.'
In a statement, police said they were responding to reports of shots fired in central Christchurch.
A nearby business owner said to Stuff NZ a lot of of people were praying at the mosque at the time.
"I heard 20 or more gunshots. I thought something happened and the people were running on the other side of Deans Avenue and now I can see so many police."
Some outlets have the shooter or shooters are still at large and "there are shootings in multiple locations."
More as the story develops.