LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Members of the Southern California Islamic community gathered Friday with heavy hearts as New Zealand reels from a mass shooting that killed 49 people at two mosques.
Even though there have been no threats made against Los Angeles area Islamic centers, security was beefed up and police patrols were increased around mosques in Koreatown and Culver City.
“Our community, we’re strong and we’re united, and we’re not afraid of anyone tearing us down,” said Jarin Islam, a member of the Islamic Center of Southern California.
At least 49 people are dead and 20 others were being treated for gunshot wounds following the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history.
An Australian national has been charged with murder in connection with the attacks on the two mosques in Christchurch, with two others – whose roles in the attack are unclear – taken into custody.
The suspect, 28-year-old Brenton Harrison Tarrant, apparently livestreamed the attack on social media. Authorities say he wrote a manifesto referencing “white genocide” driven by “mass immigration,” said guns were used to stoke Second Amendment debate in the U.S., and called President Trump a “symbol of renewed white identity.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti stopped by the Koreatown mosque to show his support.
“These are holy spaces that need to be protected every single moment and I want the Muslim community and all Angelenos to know that we’ll protect them where they worship,” he said.