Christchurch shooting suspect was charged with murdering someone who's not dead: police
The New Zealand Police have admitted that the suspect in last week’s shootings at two mosques in Christchurch was charged with killing a woman who’s not actually dead, reports said Thursday local time.
A woman’s name was erroneously included on court charge sheets for the suspect’s first appearance, the NZ Herald reported.
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The woman is believed to be connected to the shootings but she’s still alive, said Det.-Supt. Chris Page, as quoted by Stuff.
“We have been to see her today [Thursday] and apologized,” he said.
“The name was supposed to represent many victims and someone was just trying to do the right thing.
“We made a mistake and we will own it.”
Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian national, has so far been charged with a single count of murder. The alleged victim’s name has been suppressed.
Tarrant is expected to face a “bundle” of new charges at a court appearance on April 5, Stuff reported.
Page said the police error won’t affect the legality of Tarrant’s prosecution.
The revelation came as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the government would ban semi-automatic and assault rifles in laws that she expected would be enacted by April 11.
The government also expects to establish a buy-back scheme for banned weapons.
But the guns aren’t the only equipment that are being banned; Ardern said the government would also outlaw parts used to convert weapons into semi-automatics, as well as high-capacity magazines.
The Christchurch shootings were carried out using an AR-15, the same gun that was used in a massacre that killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Australia in 1996.
Australia subsequently banned semi-automatics and launched a buy-back program for such weapons.