NZ mosque shooting

Police probe if man who died in stand-off linked to attacks

A 54-year-old man was found in this car early yesterday and he was critically injured with what appeared to be a stab wound, said New Zealand police. First aid was applied but the man died at the scene. The police are investigating whether he had any
A 54-year-old man was found in this car early yesterday and he was critically injured with what appeared to be a stab wound, said New Zealand police. First aid was applied but the man died at the scene. The police are investigating whether he had any connection with the March 15 shooting attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, which killed 50 people.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SYDNEY • New Zealand police are investigating whether a man who died from a stab wound in a standoff yesterday had any connection with the March 15 shooting attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, which killed 50 people.

National police commissioner Mike Bush said that Christchurch police found several firearms during a search of a local property late on Tuesday evening.

At about 12.30am yesterday, they located a 54-year-old man, sought in connection with the firearms, in a stopped vehicle.

Police negotiators spoke with the man over a number of hours and officers approached the vehicle at around 3.40am.

Mr Bush said that the man was found in the car and he was critically injured with what appeared to be a stab wound.

First aid was applied but the man died at the scene. A knife was located in the vehicle but no firearms were discovered.

"A high-priority investigation is under way to determine whether or not the deceased man posed a threat to the community. This will include further searches of Christchurch properties and interviews with family and associates," Mr Bush said.

Suspected Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with one count of murder over the Christchurch attacks and will appear in court on April 5.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz yesterday said there was a financial link between the suspect and the far-right Identitarian Movement in Austria.

Mr Hansjoerg Bacher, a spokesman for prosecutors in Graz, said that Mr Martin Sellner, head of the Identitarian Movement - which says it wants to preserve Europe's identity - received €1,500 (S$2,290) early last year from a donor with the same name as Tarrant.

"We can now confirm that there was financial support and so a link between the New Zealand attacker and the Identitarian Movement in Austria," Mr Kurz said.

Mr Bacher said that an investigation was under way about whether there were criminally relevant links between Mr Sellner and the suspect.

Meanwhile, the bodies of two Bangladeshis killed in the shooting have been returned home to their grieving families, relatives said late on Tuesday.

The bodies of Mr Zakaria Bhuiyan, a welder, and Mr Omar Faruk, a builder, arrived at Dhaka airport on a Singapore Airlines flight from New Zealand. The two men were praying at the Al Noor Mosque when shooting broke out, leaving 43 people dead.

Another seven Muslims were shot dead at a separate mosque.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2019, with the headline 'Police probe if man who died in stand-off linked to attacks'. Print Edition | Subscribe