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NZ Police to charge Christchurch attacker with terrorism

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NZ Police to charge Christchurch attacker with terrorism
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Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald/Pool via REUTERS
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The suspect accused of killing 51 people in the March 15 Christchurch mosque shootings will be charged with terrorism, said New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush in a statement.

The police commissioner said the police would charge Brenton Tarrant with engaging in a terrorist act under the Terrorism Suppression Act of 2002.

This brings the total number of charges against the suspect to 51 charges of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one charge of terrorism.

Police met with victims' families and survivors of the March 15 attack to inform them of the new charges filed against the accused.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called the attack on the two mosques "one of New Zealand's darkest days."

The suspect had live-streamed the violence on Facebook during the attack, which prompted technology companies to sign onto a call proposed by Ardern and French president Emmanuel Macron last week to prevent the spread of violent extremist and terrorist content online.

New Zealand's parliament voted to ban semi-automatic rifles and magazines just one month after the attack.