Multiple fatalities were inflicted at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday when at least one gunman opened fire on worshippers, police said.
The active shooter is said to be at large after the attacks.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said four suspects have been taken into custody comprising one woman and three men.
“We are still looking at the circumstances around it. Let’s not presume that the danger is gone,” he said.
He further informed that the police have defused a number of improvised explosive devices found on vehicles after the Mosque shootings.
Local media reported that up to six people were dead and the South Island city was placed in lockdown as police hunted for an “active gunman.”
“A serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter,” police said in a statement.
“Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high.”
The Masjid al Noor was filled with worshippers, including members of the Bangladesh cricket team.
“This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days. It was an unprecedented act of violence,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement following the shooting.
One witness told stuff.co.nz he was praying in the Deans Ave mosque when he heard shooting and saw his wife lying dead on the footpath outside when he fled.
Another man said he saw children being shot.
An eyewitness told Radio New Zealand he heard shots fired and four people were lying on the ground, with “blood everywhere”.
Unconfirmed reports said the shooter was wearing military-style clothing.
Police commissioner Mike Bush said all schools in the city had been placed in lockdown in response to “a serious ongoing firearms incident”.
Central city buildings, including the Civic Offices and Central Library, were also locked down.
The city council offered a helpline for parents looking for kids attending a mass climate change rally nearby.
Bangladesh’s cricket team escaped unscathed. Spokesman Jalal Yunus said most of the team were bussed to the mosque and were about to go inside when the incident happened.
“They are safe. But they are mentally shocked. We have asked the team to stay confined in the hotel,” he told AFP.
Player Tamim Iqbal tweeted that it was a “frightening experience” and that there were “active shooters”.
“Entire team got saved from active shooters!!!” tweeted Tamim Iqbal.
Bangladesh cricket board is in contact with New Zealand cricket authorities and would take further decision after consultation, the spokesman said.
(With agency inputs)