Coroner’s Inquiry into New Zealand’s Deadliest Shooting Commences with Memorial to Victims
Traditional Maori Welcome and Koran Reading Honor 51 Muslim Worshippers
A coroner’s inquiry into New Zealand’s worst mass shooting began with a solemn tribute to the 51 Muslim worshippers who lost their lives at the hands of an Australian white supremacist. The inquiry opened with a traditional Maori welcome and a reading from the Koran to honor the victims.
Details of the Tragic Incident
The massacre took place on March 15, 2019, in Christchurch, when the gunman, Brenton Tarrant, armed with high-capacity semi-automatic weapons, attacked two mosques. Tarrant, 32, live-streamed the horrifying incident on Facebook and also released a racist manifesto prior to the attack. He was eventually convicted on numerous charges, including murder and committing a terrorist act, and is now serving a life sentence without parole.
An Emphasis on Remembering the Victims
Deputy Chief Coroner Brigitte Windley, in her opening statement, urged everyone to remember the 51 lives lost and keep their memory at the center of the inquiry. She emphasized that the purpose of the inquiry is to shed light on the events leading up to the tragedy and explore ways to prevent similar incidents in the future.
The Scope of the Inquiry
Over the course of the next six weeks, the inquiry will delve into various aspects, including the response of emergency services and hospital staff, the possibility of any accomplices, and the cause of death for each victim. It is essential to highlight that this inquiry is not intended to assign blame or determine liability, nor does it have the authority to award compensation.
Support for the Grieving Families
The courtroom was packed with family members and additional space was made available in a neighboring courtroom for those who wished to watch a livestream of the proceedings. Before the first witness took the stand, a poignant video featuring photos and memories of the victims was played, paying tribute to their lives. The initial focus of the inquiry was on recounting the events of that fateful day and examining the response of emergency services.
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