May 21 (UPI) -- The Australian man accused of shooting 51 people dead in attacks at two New Zealand mosques has been charged with engaging in a terrorist act, police said Tuesday.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said Brenton Tarrant, 28, was charged under the Terrorism Suppression Act of 2002 following consultation between police, Crown Law and Christchurch Crown Solicitors Office.
"The charge will allege that a terrorist act was carried out in Christchurch on 15 March 2019," Bush said in a statement.
Additional charges of murder and attempted murder were also filed, he said, adding that he'd met with families of the victims earlier Tuesday to inform them of the new counts.
Tarrant now faces 51 charges of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one under the Terrorism Suppression Act. Police arrested him March 15 after the shooting attacks at two mosques in Christchurch that killed 51 people.
Tarrant was initially charged with one count of murder. His next court appearance is scheduled for June.