Police responded to an active shooter at a New Zealand mosque on Friday afternoon local time, according to local reports.
The gunman reportedly stormed the Al Noor mosque in the center of Christchurch, the BBC reported. It’s not clear how many people were injured.
A witness described a scene of carnage after he walked into the mosque to try to help those injured.
“I saw dead people everywhere,” Len Peneha said.
“Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high,” local police said in a statement.
About 300 people were inside for afternoon prayers when the gunman opened fire.
Schools in the city were placed on lockdown after reports of the shooting, the New Zealand Herald reported.
A witness told the newspaper that she ducked for cover in her car after hearing shots and seeing four or five men running past her.
“When the noise got louder I saw four or five men running. I put my seat down and lay down so they wouldn’t see me.
“I didn’t think I’d live to see this happening in my country,” she told the newspaper.
The Christchurch City Council also locked down all of its buildings after reports of the shooting spread.
“If you were planning on coming into the city center to visit our facilities this afternoon, we urge you to stay away,” the Council General Manager told a local radio station.
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