CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — The Latest on the mosque shootings in New Zealand (all times local):
Australian TV news networks have shown what they say are the mother and sister of alleged Christchurch mass killer Brenton Tarrant returning to their homes in eastern Australia with police searching for clues in the New Zealand mosque attacks.
Tarrant, an Australian, grew up in the New South Wales town of Grafton. But Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he has only spent 45 days in Australia in the past three years.
The two people identified as mother Sharon Tarrant and sister Lauren Tarrant did not comment to the media after police searched their homes. They are reportedly in protective police custody.
Nine News said they returned to their homes for the first time Monday since at least 50 people were slaughtered in Christchurch last Friday.
The mother lives in the New South Wales town of Lawrence and the sister in Sandy Beach.
Australian police said the aim of the search was to obtain material that could help New Zealand police in their investigation of the attack.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the Australian police searches “haven’t discovered any matters that would threaten their public.”
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush says gunman who killed 50 people and wounded others at two Christchurch mosques acted alone but may have had support.
Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant was arrested moments after the shootings on Friday. He was charged with a single count of murder and a judge said Saturday he may face other charges.
Bush said at a Monday news conference that “We believe absolutely there was only one attacker responsible for this.”
But he added that the support of other people hasn’t been ruled out and is “a very, very important part of our investigation.”
Mourners lay flowers on a wall at the Botanical Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand, Monday, March 18, 2019. A steady stream of mourners paid tribute at makeshift memorial to the dozens of people slain by a gunman at two mosques in Christchurch, while dozens of Muslims stood by to bury the dead when authorities finally release the victims’ bodies. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian) (Vincent Thian)
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern says gun law reforms will be announced within 10 days following the Christchurch shootings that killed 50 people.
She said Cabinet ministers had met and made an in-principle decision to tighten gun ownership but details still need to be worked out.
Ardern also announced an inquiry into the country’s intelligence services.
The Australian white supremacist charged in the massacre wasn’t detected before his well-planned attack on two mosques and there have been concerns intelligence agencies were overly focused on the Muslim community in detecting and preventing security risks.
Australia is making public grants available to help places of worship bolster security after an Australian white supremacist was accused of a terror attack in New Zealand.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says 55 million Australian dollars ($39 million) in total will be made available to add security video, fencing, lighting and alarms.
Morrison says religious freedom has to start with the right to worship and meet safely without fear of violence.
Australian Brenton Tarrant was charged with murder over the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch in which 50 people were killed. He grew up in the New South Wales town of Grafton and had lived in New Zealand in recent years.
Australian police have raided two homes in New South Wales state as part of the investigation into the New Zealand mosque shootings.
Australian Brenton Tarrant has been charged with murder over the shootings in Christchurch on Friday.
Police said in a statement the raids occurred in the towns of Sandy Beach and Lawrence early on Monday.
The statement says: “The primary aim of the activity is to formally obtain material that may assist New Zealand Police in their ongoing investigation.”
Tarrant grew up to the north of the raided towns in the New South Wales town of Grafton.
The owner of Christchurch’s “Gun City” store said it sold four guns and ammunition to the alleged mosque shooter through a “police-verified online mail order process.”
David Tipple said in a statement that he has provided police with the purchase records and full details of the sales, which did not include military style semi-automatic weapons.
Tipple said he and staff are “dismayed and disgusted” by Friday’s shootings.
The store has been criticized for leaving out a roadside advertising billboard that shows a parent helping children with rifle target practice.
Referring to the man arrested after the shootings at two mosques, Tipple said, “We detected nothing extraordinary about this (gun) license holder.”
An Australian man has been charged with murder in the attacks at two Christchurch mosques.
Families of the 50 people killed in the Christchurch mosque shootings are enduring an increasingly agonizing wait for the bodies of victims to be released as New Zealand reels from the unprecedented tragedy.
Three days after Friday’s attack, New Zealand’s deadliest shooting in modern history, relatives were anxiously waiting for word on when they can bury their loved ones. Islamic tradition calls for bodies to be cleansed and buried as soon as possible after death.
Aya Al-Umari, whose older brother Hussien Al-Umari died at the Al Noor mosque, said “It’s very unsettling not knowing what’s going on, if you just let me know — is he still in the mosque? Is he in a fridge? Where is he?”
Authorities say they hope to release all the bodies by Wednesday.