New Zealand police deployed armed officers in central Christchurch on Friday after reports that several shots had been fired and witnesses at a mosque told media of several casualties.
People in the centre of the city should stay indoors, police said.
Police officials did not immediately comment on whether the incident took place in the mosque or nearby. There is no official confirmation on casualties.
In response to a serious ongoing firearms incident in Christchurch all Christchurch schools have been placed into lockdown. Police urge anyone in central Christchurch to stay off the streets and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to 111.
Local media, however, said shooters opened fire at two separate mosques.
Media said shots had been fired near a mosque and a witness told broadcaster One News that he saw three people lying on the ground, bleeding outside the building.
Witness Len Peneha told The Associated Press he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.
He said he also saw the gunman flee before emergency services arrived.
Peneha said he went into the mosque to try and help: “I saw dead people everywhere.”
This story originally appeared on CBC