A top New Zealand official said that Brenton Tarrant, the terrorist who attacked two mosques last week, was on the way to another attack when he was nabbed by police.
28-year-old Tarrant opened fire at Al Noor and Linwood mosques, in Christchurch area, during Friday prayers killing 50.
He was arrested within 21 minutes of the rampage, said Police Commissioner Mike Bush.
Police Commissioner said timely intervention saved lives
Divulging details about the operation, Bush revealed the first responders reached the site within 11 minutes.
"Within 21 minutes, the person that is now in custody was arrested. 21 minutes from when we were first notified," Bush said.
He added authorities were "absolutely" certain Tarrant was going for another attack when he was stopped by two rural officers. "Lives were saved," said Bush.
Earlier, Tarrant fired his lawyer
Tarrant, who hails from Australia, had anti-immigration and anti-Islam leanings.
Before the attack, he released a memo in which he spoke about white supremacy and even mentioned he looked up to US President Donald Trump.
When he was produced in court, Tarrant didn't look remorseful. He has fired his lawyer and will represent himself. Tarrant may use the platform to "spread his beliefs".
Days after attack, PM banned assault rifles in New Zealand
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the attack one of the darkest days of New Zealand and promised that gun laws in the country will change.
Keeping up with her words, Ardern banned all military-style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles, and high-capacity magazines on Thursday. She said the legislation will be "introduced in urgency".
"It's in the national interest and it's about safety," she added.
No one will be able to buy weapons: Ardern
"The effect of this will mean that no one will be able to buy these weapons without a permit to procure from the police. I can assure people that there is no point in applying for such a permit," Ardern said in a widely-televised address.
Ardern introduced buyback policy for those who own such weapons
For those who own the banned guns, Ardern announced a buyback scheme which will cost the country somewhere between NZ$100 million and NZ$200 million.
Anyone who chooses to keep the gun after the amnesty period will be fined up to NZ$4,000 or sent to jail for three years, the new law underlined.
"The vast majority of New Zealanders will support this change," Ardern said.