The Christchurch terror attack on March 15, 2019, shook New Zealand and the world. It was a day marred by unspeakable tragedy, and the inquest into the attack continues to reveal the harrowing details of that fateful day. One of the most startling revelations has been the limited training of some police officers, who were the first to respond to the Al Noor Mosque after reports of gunfire. In this article, we delve into the events of that day, the experiences of these officers, and how the Reddit platform played a role in sharing information about the attack.
The Initial Police Response
When news of the attack at Al Noor Mosque reached the police, the first responders faced a chaotic and horrifying scene. Sergeant Aaron Reid, who arrived at the scene at 1:46 pm, recalls the challenges they encountered. Unfortunately, some of these officers had only received one day of active shooter training prior to the attack, which would prove insufficient for the magnitude of the incident.
Sergeant Reid and his team had to think quickly, devising a plan to approach the Al Noor Mosque. They took measures to secure the area, clear vehicles, and evacuate people from the streets. At the same time, members of the Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) rushed into the mosque to confront the attacker. The sight that greeted them was beyond comprehension—bodies on the street and a stream of distressed individuals emerging from the mosque.
As the officers carried out their duties, they provided first aid to the injured, demonstrating immense courage and selflessness. Their acts of heroism during those critical moments saved lives, but the limited training they received underlines the need for better preparedness in the face of such events.
Limited Training and Its Impact
Sergeant Aaron Reid’s testimony about the meager training he and his colleagues had received for an active shooter situation is deeply concerning. This revelation underscores the lack of readiness within the New Zealand Police for a terror attack of this nature.
While responding to the incident, Reid performed CPR on an injured victim, but despite his best efforts, there was no response. The officers were also involved in loading injured individuals into private vehicles for transportation to the hospital, as ambulances were overwhelmed. The severity of the situation became apparent as they encountered more and more victims.
Some people refused to leave the scene, and Reid had to make difficult decisions to ensure everyone’s safety. This included loading approximately 50 individuals onto a bus bound for the hospital. These challenging choices highlight the immense pressure that the officers faced and their unwavering commitment to public safety.
In response to their limited training, Reid admitted that New Zealand Police were not adequately prepared for an event of this magnitude. However, he acknowledged that training has since been improved and further plans are in place to enhance readiness.
The Role of Reddit in Sharing Information
The Reddit platform played an unexpected role during the Christchurch terror attack. A panicked transmission over police radio incorrectly suggested that the Al Noor Mosque was the target of a second attack. This erroneous information led to confusion among the police officers. It was only later realized that this transmission was incorrect, but it had caused precious time to be wasted.
The delay in recognizing the error meant that some officers were momentarily distracted from their critical duties. The incident serves as a reminder of the challenges that law enforcement agencies face in managing information and communication during high-stress situations.
The Christchurch terror attack inquest has shed light on the bravery of police officers who faced an unimaginable crisis with limited training. It also underscores the importance of enhanced preparedness and training for law enforcement agencies. In an era where such attacks are sadly becoming more common, adequate training and resources are vital to minimize the impact of these tragedies.
The role of Reddit in the communication breakdown serves as a cautionary tale about the importance of clear and accurate information sharing during emergencies. In an age where social media and online platforms play a significant role in disseminating information, it is imperative that law enforcement agencies can effectively manage these channels.
As the inquest continues, the lessons learned from the Christchurch terror attack will hopefully lead to improvements in training, preparedness, and communication for the police and emergency response agencies, ensuring a more effective response to any future crises.