New Zealand: Police defend response time in mosque shootings

New Zealand police defended the 36 minutes it took to arrest the man now charged with murder over the Christchurch mosque shootings, at a press conference from the city on Saturday.

This followed a question from a journalist suggesting that there had been criticism over the slowness of the police’s response time.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed the incident was first reported at 13:42 local time (00:42 GMT), within minutes of Friday’s attack.

District Commander John Price, who was in charge of the operation, said he was happy with the response.

“That is an incredibly fast response time. You had a mobile offender across a large metropolitan city,” said Price.

Police Commissioner Bush also revealed that the suspect had resisted arrest.

“The person was non-compliant,” he explained. “We also believe that not only were there IEDs in that vehicle — so it was a very dangerous manoeuvre —, there were also firearms in that vehicle.”

Bush said he has no intelligence information on any imminent threats, but did not rule out the possibility. “I would never assume anything in this situation,” he stated.

A total of 49 people were killed in the shootings, a further 48 were wounded.

The first report of an attack came from Masjid Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch during Friday prayers. The gunman then drove to the nearby Linwood Islamic Centre, where the second shooting occurred.

The main suspect, 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant, appeared in court on Saturday charged with murder. Two more individuals have been arrested in connection with the attack.

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