Referring to the four people detained by police, Ardern said, "These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand."

One of the attacks took place at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch at about 1:45 p.m., killing at least 30 people.  A witness named Len Peneha told reporters that he saw a man dressed in all black walk into the mosque, and then heard dozens of shots.  He then witnessed people running from the mosque completely terrorized.  The gunman, who was wearing a helmet with some sort of device on the top, then exited the mosque, dropping a semi-automatic weapon as he fled the scene.

"I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque," he told reporters. "It's unbelievable nutty. I don't understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It's ridiculous.  I've lived next door to this mosque for about five years and the people are great, they're very friendly.  I just don't understand it."

A video was livestreamed by the shooter, graphically depicting the events of the attack in horrific detail.  According to a news report by CP24"the gunman spends more than two minutes inside the mosque spraying terrified worshippers with bullets again and again, sometimes re-firing at people he has already cut down."

A second shooting took place at the Linwood Masjid Mosque, killing at least 10 people.  A witness named Mark Nichols told the New Zealand Herald that he heard about five gunshots and that a worshiper returned fire with either a rifle or shotgun.  He also reported two injured victims being carried out on stretchers past his automotive shop and that both people appeared to be alive.