Arizona politicians react to New Zealand mosque shootings
PHOENIX — A number of Arizona politicians responded on social media in the wake of two mass shootings at mosques in New Zealand that left 49 people dead, dozens more injured and an entire community rattled.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally said in a statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM that the shootings were a “despicable, intolerable, murderous act that has no place in our world. My heart breaks for the victims of this gruesome tragedy.”
U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said in a tweet that she was “horrified” to learn of the massacre. “Sending love to the victims, their families and the entire New Zealand community today.”
Other members of Arizona’s congressional delegation took to their social media accounts to express their sympathy.
“I condemn the heinous attack on innocent worshipers in New Zealand,” U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar said in a statement to KTAR News.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also took to Twitter to express his condolences for the New Zealand shooting victims.
Phoenix Mayor-elect Kate Gallego issued a statement.
Arizona Department of Public Safety head Col. Frank Milstead encouraged people who notice suspicious activity to report it to local authorities or the Arizona Counter Terrorism tip line at 877-272-8329.
Former Arizona U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, who herself was the target of a massacre in Tucson, tweeted her condolences.
President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a so-called Muslim ban in the U.S., said in a tweet that his “warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand.”
One man was arrested and charged with murder, and two other armed suspects were taken into custody while police tried to determine what role they played in the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch.
At least 48 people, some in critical condition, were being treated at Christchurch Hospital for gunshot wounds, authorities said.
“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, noting that many of the victims could be migrants or refugees.
She pronounced it “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
The cold-blooded attack shocked people across the nation of 5 million people, a country that has relatively loose gun laws but few gun homicides and is so peaceful police officers rarely carry firearms. It is also generally considered to be welcoming to migrants and refugees.
The gunman behind at least one of the mosque shootings left a 74-page manifesto that he posted on social media under the name Brenton Tarrant, identifying himself as a 28-year-old Australian and white nationalist who was out to avenge attacks in Europe perpetrated by Muslims.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.