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.
My heart breaks for the victims of the senseless shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, and loved ones who must bear their loss. These violent attacks have no place in any community, least of all a place of worship. My prayers are with the people of Christchurch today. #AZ01
— Rep. Tom O'Halleran (@RepOHalleran) March 15, 2019
Christchurch, you're community is with me and my heart goes out to all the families who have lost loved ones. Our world should be better than this and I reject all forms of hatred and acts of terror. #NewZealand
— Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (@RepKirkpatrick) March 15, 2019
My thoughts are with New Zealand and the families of the 49 lives lost to this senseless terror attack. We must condemn White supremacy and Islamophobia in all forms. https://t.co/Z0sm5CdUIw
— Raul M. Grijalva (@RepRaulGrijalva) March 15, 2019
Cindy and I are praying for the victims of the New Zealand attacks last night. No one should ever fear violence in their place of worship. May God comfort the family members of these victims.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) March 15, 2019
Joyce and I send prayers to the victims and families affected by the mosque attack in Christchurch, New Zealand last night. We condemn these senseless acts of violence in a place of worship, and stand with the Muslim community during this difficult time.
— Rep David Schweikert (@RepDavid) March 15, 2019
Thinking today of the innocent people killed in the mosque attacks in New Zealand, and their surviving loved ones. We must continue to fight against racist bigotry and extremism with both the law and with our love for our fellow human beings.
— Ruben Gallego (@RepRubenGallego) March 15, 2019
I stand with the people of New Zealand and Muslims across the world after the horrific murder of 49 people in the terrorist #ChristchurchMosqueAttack. America must help lead the fight against terror anywhere it occurs.
— Greg Stanton (@gregstantonaz) March 15, 2019
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also took to Twitter to express his condolences for the New Zealand shooting victims.
Our prayers and our hearts are with the people of New Zealand this morning following the horrific mosque attacks in Christchurch. Arizona and America stand with you, and we condemn this tragic and hateful act. May God look over the families of all those who lost their lives.
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) March 15, 2019
Phoenix Mayor-elect Kate Gallego issued a statement.
My heart is with New Zealand today and the entire Muslim community across the world. Hate has no home here, but it needs all of us to defy it when it intrudes.
— Kate Gallego (@KateWGallego) March 15, 2019
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.
Today my heart is in New Zealand. I join my fellow Americans in sending strength to the families and communities forced to live through this horrific act of terror. My love and compassion is with every person who feels less safe just because of who they are and what they believe.
— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) March 15, 2019
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.”
My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2019
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.