Jacinda Ardern said the alleged attacker, 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant, would surely have killed even more people than the 49 worshippers he massacred in two mosques were it not for the policemen.
"There were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in and it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack", New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, according to ABC57.
On Saturday, the prime minister said the "primary perpetrator" in the shootings was a licensed gun owner and legally acquired the five guns used. Forty-one were killed at the al-Noor mosque, while seven died at the Linwood mosque.
"I can tell you one thing right now, our gun laws will change", Ardern said adding that a ban on semi-automatic weapons would be considered.
She said the man was arrested by two "rural community cops" 36 minutes after the first emergency call was made on Friday and was still an active shooter.
"The street that I work on was covered in SWAT cars, they were flying past every minute, and loads of police cars going back and forth, so that must have been when they found out that there were attacks in at least two places, the first mosque and the second mosque".
Ardern noted that this individual traveled around the world and spent "sporadic periods of time" in New Zealand.
Outside the Christchurch District Court, Yama Nabi spoke to RNZ about his shock and horror on learning about the shootings and that his father was among the 49 killed in the attacks on two Christchurch mosques. This is a partial transcription of those press conferences in which she touches on her country's diversity, sending condolences to victims and their families and communities.
"What I can say is that an 18-year- old man will appear in court on Monday but that arrest was tangential to this matter and we do not believe that he was involved in this attack either", Mr Bush said.
There will likely be additional charges, reported CBC News, but the police have yet to release details of what they may be.
Police said they were not searching for any other suspects but stressed the investigation remained fluid.
Commissioner Mike Bush hailed the "absolute bravery" of both police and members of the public "who put themselves in harm's way" to apprehend the suspect.
Ardern has promised to change gun laws as soon as possible, noting it had already been tried several times before in New Zealand.
Tarrant was remanded into custody and is expected to appear in court again on April 5. New Zealand's prime minister called it an act of terror. At least one Palestinian died, Palestine's ambassador to Australia and New Zealand said in a statement. Two mosques were targeted in the attack. He had no criminal history in New Zealand or Australia and had not drawn the attention of the intelligence community for extremist views.
The video footage showed a man driving to the mosque, entering it and shooting randomly at people present inside. "It will be hard to get past and I'm not sure how", Hindy said.