0716 GMT October 18, 2019
At least 49 people died and 20 were wounded after gunmen believed to be right-wing extremists opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday, halenhearty.co reported.
The shootings have shocked the world but have hit New Zealanders particularly hard, and Russell, who was born in the country before moving to Australia as a child, expressed his horror at the shootings.
“Senseless, pointless, cruel deaths,” he wrote on Twitter. “My heart breaks for all the families involved, and for the beautiful people of New Zealand to whose hearts this pain will attach, for a long time. Kia Kaha (be strong).”
Ragnarok filmmaker Taika meanwhile reached out to New Zealand’s Muslims and expressed his heartbreak at Friday’s horrific events.
“My heart is broken,” he tweeted. “My country is weeping and so am I. I am dying knowing that this kind of hatred can happen in my homeland. All my love goes out to Christchurch, the victims, the families, the Muslim community, and all who have chosen our islands as their home. This is not us.”
New Zealand native Sam Neill also offered support in the wake of the tragedy, writing: “This beyond grotesque horrific white supremacist terrorist crime in OUR, YOUR little country. With love and heartbreak to the Muslim community of Aotearoa, we are with you. You are us. We are all NewZealanders. #TheyAreUs Kia kaha. We weep together.”
The shootings also prompted outpourings of grief from US stars, some of whom linked the tragedy to an increase in Islamophobia, allegedly fanned by right-wing politicians.
“To the Muslim community- my heart is broken by the horror & loss in New Zealand,” Will & Grace star Debra Messing added. “We are with you, we see you, and we will fight white supremacy and Islamaphobia until we are all free of fear.”
In a message of solidarity, Arnold Schwarzenegger tweeted: “My heart goes out to the victims, their families, and the people of New Zealand. This is a horrific act of terror but please know that the world stands with you. I stand with you.”
One man has been charged with murder in connection with the shootings, while two other men and one woman have been detained and questioned.