NJ ‘sickened, devastated’ and on alert after New Zealand slaughter
Security was tightened around New Jersey mosques following the shootings that left at least 49 dead at two mosques thousands of miles away in New Zealand.
Authorities charged one person, detained three others and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack. Two other armed suspects were being held in custody. A self-described white supremacist Australian who claimed responsibility for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto.
State Police said troopers will be conducting Target Hardening Deployments at various locations statewide including faith-based institutions and reminded citizens to report any suspicious activity by calling 866-4-SAFE-NJ or 9-1-1.
South Brunswick police chief Raymond Hayducka said security was increased around the Islamic Society of Central Jersey mosque on Route 1. The chief said there is no threat and the increased patrol was done out of an abundance of caution.
The Muslim Center of Greater Princeton expressed their "profound grief and condolences" to the victims and asked they be rewarded jannatul firdaus, or heaven, without reckoning.
James Sues, executive director of New Jersey Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, echoed the sentiments of national executive director Nihad Awad.
“To God we belong, and to Him is our return," Awad said in a statement. "We mourn the heartbreaking killings of men, women and children gathered for prayer in their houses of worship and urge leaders in our nation and worldwide to speak out forcefully against the growing anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate that appears to have motivated these white supremacist terrorists. In the wake of this tragedy, we urge mosques, Islamic schools and other community institutions in the United States and around the world to take stepped-up security precautions, particularly during times of communal prayer."
Gov. Phil Murphy in a message via Twitter said he and wife Tammy are "devastated" by the shooting.
"Our hearts go out to all those affected.To the Muslim communities of New Jersey and around the world: We stand with you," the governor said.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said on Twitter that he was "sickened" by the shootings.
"The rising tide of white supremacy and Islamophobia around the globe must be met with our determination to work against hate," he wrote.
"New Zealand is grieving today and we in the United States mourn alongside the families who have lost their loved ones in these senseless, beyond barbaric Mosque attacks," U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said on Twitter.
A video that appears to have been live-streamed via a camera attached to the shooter's body shows the attack in detail. The gunman spends more than two minutes inside the mosque spraying bullets at terrified worshippers, sometimes re-firing at people he has already cut down.
He then walks outside to the street, where he shoots at people on the sidewalk. Children's screams can be heard in the distance as he returns to his car to get another rifle.
The gunman then walks back into the mosque, where there are at least two dozen people lying on the ground. After walking back outside and shooting a woman there, he gets back in his car, where the song "Fire" by English rock band "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown" can be heard blasting from the speakers. The singer bellows, "I am the god of hellfire!" and the gunman drives away. The video then cuts out.
During a second shooting at the Linwood mosque about 3 miles from the Al Noor mosque, seven people were killed.
One more person died later at Christchurch Hospital.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report
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