New Zealand police say multiple fatalities at two mosques; 1 person taken into custody

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand police say there are  multiple fatalities at two mosques in the city of Christchurch. One person has been taken into custody.

Earlier Friday afternoon, police had urged people to stay indoors as authorities responded to a shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque.

Armed police were deployed after receiving reports of shots fired in the city center at 1:40 p.m. Friday local time. Authorities described it as a “serious ongoing firearms incident.”

Video shared online and not verified by CNN purportedly shows a gunman walking into the Masjid Al Noor mosque and opening fire.

Canterbury Police NZ tweeted: “We have a critical incident in Deans Ave Christchurch. Please avoid the area. We will give more in the near future.”

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said in a statement that “all Christchurch schools have been placed into lockdown.”

“Police urge anyone in central Christchurch to stay off the streets and report any suspicious behavior immediately to 111,” he added.

Christchurch City Council tweeted that it was locking down a “number of central city buildings, including the Civic Offices and Central Library.”

This is a developing story.  More information will be provided as it becomes available.

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