The death toll in the 15 Mar 2019 New Zealand Christchurch Mosque attack has risen to 50. On 17 Mar 2019 Sunday, police found another body at one of the mosques, as families waited for authorities to formally identify victims and release their bodies for burial.
The Australian gunman Brenton Tarrant was charged with murder on 16 Mar 2019 Saturday. Brenton Tarrant was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on 05 Apr 2019. Further charges are expected to be made against him.
New Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern labeled Friday’s attack as terrorism, the worst ever peacetime mass killing in New Zealand. New Zealand has raised its security threat level to the highest.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the body of the 50th victim was found at the Al Noor mosque, where more than 40 people died after a gunman entered and shot at people with a semi-automatic rifle with high-capacity magazines, before travelling to a second mosque.
The bodies of the victims had not been released to families because investigations were going on, said at a media conference in Wellington.
It is customary in Islam to bury the dead within 24 hours.
Mike Bush said “We have to be absolutely clear on cause of death and confirm their identity before that can happen. But we are so aware of the cultural and religious needs, so we are doing that as quickly and sensitively as possible,”