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story.lead_photo.caption Police and ambulance staff help a wounded man from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — Many people were killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, a witness said.

Police have not yet described the scale of the shooting but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors.

And New Zealand media reported a shooting at a second mosque in a Christchurch suburb.

Witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch at about 1:45 p.m. and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.

Peneha, who lives next door to the mosque, said the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon in Peneha's driveway, and fled.

Peneha said he then went into the mosque to try and help.

"I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque," he said. "It's unbelievable nutty. I don't understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It's ridiculous."

He said he helped about five people recover in his home. He said one was slightly injured.

"I've lived next door to this mosque for about five years and the people are great, they're very friendly," he said. "I just don't understand it."

He said the gunman was white and was wearing a helmet with some kind of device on top, giving him a military-type appearance.

The New Zealand Herald reported there was a second shooting at the Linwood Masjid Mosque.

Mark Nichols told the Herald he heard about five gunshots and that a Friday prayer goer returned fire with a rifle or shotgun. Nichols said he saw two injured people being carried out on stretchers past his automotive shop and that both people appeared to be alive.

New Zealand historically has had only a handful of mass shootings events.

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  • RBear
    March 15, 2019 at 3:20 a.m.

    Many reports show the principal attacker was a white nationalist who posted a manifesto online. Thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of those killed during this attack on Muslims who were just coming together peacefully to worship.
    ...
    I expect there to be vile comments from several right wingers in here who have exhibited anti-Muslim hatred in the past, making false claims about Muslims. They are the same who have shown hatred to blacks, LGBT individuals, and progressives.

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