New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, called the incident a terrorist attack in a Friday press conference, saying the suspects held “extremist views” that have no place in New Zealand or the world.
The attacks targeted two mosques in central Christchurch at lunchtime local time Friday.
A total of 48 people, including young children with gunshot wounds, were admitted to Christchurch hospital for treatment.
Three men and one woman were arrested in the immediate aftermath of the incident. One man in his late 20s was charged with murder and will appear in court Saturday morning local time.
Of the other three people apprehended, two were arrested in possession of firearms and police are still trying to understand their involvement, said New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush. On Friday night local time police tweeted that the pair remain in custody.
Police said a fourth person was arrested Friday but “that was not related to these events.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that at least one of those arrested is Australian. He said the shooting was the work of an “extremist right-wing, violent terrorist.”
Police said they do not believe there are any other suspects but added that it was still an open investigation.
None of the four people arrested had been on any security watch lists prior to the attack.