Multiple casualties are feared in a "critical incident" early Friday as gunshots were heard near a mosque in New Zealand's east-coast city, worldwide media reported, with the Bangladeshi cricket team narrowly escaping danger.
Local media said there were multiple casualties at one mosque and said another had been evacuated, and there were reports that members of the Bangladesh cricket team were also present at one site.
"In response to a serious ongoing firearms incident in Christchurch all Christchurch schools have been placed into lockdown", NZ Police tweeted.
The New Zealand Herald reported there was a second shooting at the Linwood Masjid Mosque.
"Several minutes after they were barred from getting off the bus, the players escaped and ran through Hagley Park", Isam wrote.
The local police have also cleared Cathedral Square, where thousands of children were rallying for action on climate change.
Members of the Bangladeshi cricket team have escaped a shooting at a mosque near Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
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The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is aware of reports of a shooting incident at a mosque in central Christchurch.
An eyewitness says a man wearing a helmet and glasses and a military style jacket opened fire inside the mosque.
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"I saw dead people everywhere".
All schools and hospitals in Christchurch have been placed in lockdown.
Authorities said they were unable to confirm fatalities, but the scale of the bloodshed appeared to be vast.
"We've probably seen 10 ambulances".
"I heard 20 or more gunshots I thought something happened and the people were running on the other side of Deans Avenue and now I can see so many police", the business owner said.
"I don't they're in a mental state to play cricket at all.
There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque", he said.
"I heard a big sound of the gun".
"I could not contact two of my friends who are in the mosque as well".