LAPD increases patrols at mosques, prayer service held after New Zealand shootings

ByJohn Gregory, Carlos Granda, and staff via KABC logo
Saturday, March 16, 2019
EMBED <>More Videos

The Los Angeles Police Department provided extra patrols around local mosques following two deadly shootings at New Zealand mosques. A prayer service was also held for the victims.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Police Department is providing extra patrols around local mosques following two deadly shootings at New Zealand mosques. A prayer service was also held for the victims.

The department tweeted a statement saying they are taking the extra steps out of an abundance of caution.

"The LAPD is monitoring the horrific events unfolding in Christchurch, New Zealand. While this attack appears to be an isolated incident with no nexus to LA, out of an abundance of caution we're providing extra patrols around mosques. Our thoughts & prayers are with all affected," the tweet stated.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore said "thoughts and prayers of the LAPD are with all affected by the #ChristchurchAttack in New Zealand."

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti also tweeted about the massacre, saying "all people of faith should feel safe in their places of worship."

Forty-nine people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

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.

Media in New Zealand and Australia say the suspected gunman live-streamed video of the attack.

Based on the video, the attacker was at the scene of the first mosque for about 10 minutes, and police did not arrive until after that.

The footage showed he was carrying a shotgun and two fully automatic military assault rifles, with an extra magazine taped to one of the weapons so that he could reload quickly. He also had more assault weapons in the trunk of his car, along with what appeared to be explosives.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it is "one of New Zealand's darkest days."

In Los Angeles, local religious leaders reacted to the horrifying events.

"The idea of this country is E pluribus unum, out of many, one. And we are enriched by each other's diversity. We shouldn't be threatened by each other's diversity, and we should learn how to be better from interacting with those who are similar and different than us," said Imam Jihad Turk, president of Bayan Claremont.

This country -- it is exactly the core of what Islam, as I've been taught by Jihad and others, and it's the core of Judaism as well -- there is nothing that separates us on that level," explained Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels.

On Friday at noon, an interfaith service was held at the Islamic Center of Southern California. Hundreds of people who attended said hate will not stand.

This weekly congregational prayer is what the people in Christchurch were doing when the gunman stormed in.

"When they were vulnerable, when they were least expecting it is when they were attacked, and it was in that moment that 49 of our brothers and sisters and humanity lost their earthly life," said Omar Ricci of the Islamic Center if Southern California.

The mayor and community leaders from across the Southland also attended to show they stand united against this type of violence.

Those who worship at the mosque said people should head to their mosques, churches and synagogues this weekend and spread love. But to be safe, there will extra security.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.