18 minutes of terror: Police release Christchurch attack response timeline

By Te Ao - Māori News

Police have released further details of the immediate police response to the Christchurch terror attacks. 

The timeline reveals the speed with which Parliamentary Services contacted police after receiving an email containing the gunman's manifesto.

“I have said previously that the public should have as much information as possible about our response, and the timeline we have released today provides further clarity," says Police Commissioner Mike Bush.

"The investigation team continues to be focused on confirming certain details, particularly timings sourced from a number of electronic systems and devices with differing internal clocks.  The information released today is currently the best information I have to date and what I can release without compromising the criminal investigation or the trial."

Timeline details (beginning at 13.40 on March 15): 

An email which has the manifesto as an attachment is received by a range of people including Parliamentary Services.  At 13.40.44 Parliamentary Services calls South Comms. 

"I would like to thank Parliamentary Services security staff for their swift action in contacting police." - Police Commissioner Mike Bush.

The call from Parliamentary Services lasts for 12 minutes.

While police talked to Parliamentary Services the attack at Al Noor Mosque was already underway, having begun 44 seconds prior to Parliamentary Services calling.

One minute later at 13.41 Police receive the first 111 call. 

By 13.43 all available units are en-route to Al Noor Mosque.

Map of Christchurch shooter's movements (Source: NZ Police).

Armed Offenders Squad members are the first to arrive near the scene at 13.46.58.  They exit their vehicle, start approaching the mosque and one member stops to assist a critically wounded victim.

At this point the alleged offender is leaving the area, and his vehicle is obscured from the view of these AOS members by a bus.

At this time there is no vehicle description, no information an offender has left the mosque, or how many shooters there are. 

First responders arrive at the Al Noor Mosque at approximately 13.51.

It takes the alleged offender 6 minutes to get to Linwood Mosque and he is there for three minutes, leaving at 13.55.

At 13.56.09 police receive information that shots have been fired at the Christchurch Emergency Department.

It later transpired that no shots had been fired at the hospital.

Sixteen seconds later at 13.56.25 a member of the public flags down a police car to advise shots have been fired in Linwood.

At 13.57 the vehicle is seen by a police unit on Brougham Street and a pursuit is initiated.

The vehicle is stopped at 13.59 and the offender is apprehended.

At 13.59 police also arrive at the Linwood Mosque.

There are 18 minutes from the time of the first call to 111 to the apprehension of the offender.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has praised the attack response (Source: File).

Statement from Police Commissioner Mike Bush:

"I reaffirm my previous comments that police staff acted as quickly as humanly possible given the rapidly unfolding nature of the event, and the information available to us in that very brief period of time.

"In order to provide absolute transparency this will be done by an independent team, including a Queen’s Counsel.  The debrief is an important process to ensure any lessons are learnt, and used to inform future operational responses.

"I remain incredibly proud of the staff who responded on March 15 and I continue to receive praise and admiration from people both here and overseas for the actions of staff both on the day and in the weeks following."