New Zealand mosque attack suspect charged with murder

NEW ZEALAND: A right-wing extremist who filmed himself on a rampage that left 49 mosque-goers dead flashed a white power sign as he appeared in a New Zealand court today charged with murder.


Saturday 16 March 2019, 09:46AM

Brenton Tarrant flashed a white power sign as he appeared in a New Zealand court Saturday charged with murder. Photo: POOLAFP / Mark Mitchell

Brenton Tarrant flashed a white power sign as he appeared in a New Zealand court Saturday charged with murder. Photo: POOLAFP / Mark Mitchell

Australian-born 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant stood in the dock wearing handcuffs and a white prison smock, as the judge read a single murder charge against him. A raft of further charges were expected.

The former fitness instructor and self-professed fascist occasionally turned to look at media present in court during the brief hearing that the public were excluded from for security reasons.

Flanked by armed police he flashed an upside-down “okay” signal, a symbol used by white power groups across the globe. He did not request bail and was taken into custody until his next court appearance which is scheduled for April 5.

A short distance away, 39 people were being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds and other injuries inflicted in the massacre. They included a two-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl, who is in critical condition.

Doctors at Christchurch hospital said they worked through the night in 12 operating theatres to do what they could to save the survivors.

For many, the road to recovery will require multiple surgical procedures and many survivors said the mental scars may never fully heal.

The attack on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques has been labelled terrorism by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and is thought to be the deadliest attack directed against Muslims in the West in modern times.

Outside the court, the son of 71-year-old Afghan victim Daoud Nabi demanded justice for his late father, who believed New Zealand to be a “slice of paradise.”

“It's outrageous, the feeling is outrageous,” he said. “It's beyond imagination.”

Ardern said the victims came from across the Muslim world, with Turkey, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia among the countries rendering consular assistance.

One Saudi citizen and two Jordanians were among the dead, while five Pakistani citizens were missing.

Grief and shock

The attack has prompted an outpouring of grief and deep shock in this usually peaceful and hospitable country, which prides itself on welcoming refugees fleeing violence or persecution.

Although shops were shuttered and many decided to stay at home, Christchurch residents piled bouquets of flowers at a makeshift memorial near the Al Noor mosque, many accompanied with handwritten letters laden with sadness and disbelief.

“I am so sorry that you were not safe here. Our hearts are breaking for your loss,” read one of the notes marked with a string of x-kisses.

Ardern, who arrived in Christchurch Saturday, said the shooter was not on any watchlist and did not have a criminal record.

“The offender was in possession of a gun licence” obtained in November 2017, and he started purchasing the weapons the following month, she said.

Two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns and lever-action gun were used in the attacks. Two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were found in a car and neutralised by the military, while police raided a home in the southern city of Dunedin, where Ardern said the suspect was based.

“While work is being done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun licence and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now – our gun laws will change,” she said.

The suspect documented his radicalisation and two years of preparations in a lengthy, meandering and conspiracy filled far-right “manifesto”.

He live-streamed footage of himself going room-to-room, victim to victim, shooting the wounded from close range as they struggled to crawl away in the main Christchurch mosque.

Thirty-six minutes after the police received the first call, Tarrant was in custody. 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.

“Their intervention may very likely have saved further lives.”

Two other people remain in custody, although their link to the attack is not clear. One man, an 18-year-old Alexander Bryan has been charged with incitement. Another person who was earlier arrested was said to be a member of the public carrying a firearm who was trying to help.

‘Horrible massacre’

Tributes to the victims poured in from around the world. US President Donald Trump condemned the “horrible massacre” in which “innocent people have so senselessly died”, but denied that the problem of right-wing extremism was widespread.

Speaking in Sydney, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the gunman as “an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist”.

New South Wales police commissioner Mick Fuller said police had visited Tarrant's childhood home in the town of Grafton, north of Sydney, and spoken to family members as part of their investigation.

The attack has prompted searching questions about whether right-wing extremism has been treated with enough seriousness by Western governments.

Ali Soufan, a former high-ranking FBI counter-terrorism agent, said the threat needs to be treated with the same seriousness as jihadist violence.

“We are in the midst of a surge of right-wing terrorism that has been metastasising in plain sight while generating only a muted response from domestic counter-terrorism authorities,” he said. Ardern said she would be reviewing events leading up to the attack to see how the suspect went unnoticed by authorities.

“The individual charged with murder had not come to the attention of the intelligence community, nor the police, for extremism,” she said.

“I have asked our agencies this morning to work swiftly on assessing whether there was any activity on social media or otherwise, that should have triggered a response. That work is already underway.”



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Capt B | 23 March 2019 - 22:56:09

You'll learn all about what I think caused the incident on the CCHR organisation.s website. Get the facts @ J12. Have a nice day 

Capt B | 23 March 2019 - 22:35:52

... Note:- however, if the massacre had of occurred in Australia, & he was on prescribed psychotropic drugs he would be deemed to be "Not Guilty under Section 32 of the Mental Health Act."   Some AU politicians were talking about having him re trialed in Australia.   @...:- You really should stop taking those things mate.

Rorri_2 | 23 March 2019 - 05:15:03

"Use Firefox to search, Google blocks access" this should NOT be allowed... only a deranged mind would want to watch it...

Jor12 | 22 March 2019 - 16:11:02

Mental issues under the Mental Health Act are decided on expert medical evdience not precedent, therefore the Byrant - or any other - case is irrelevant. As stated even though Bryant had sought medical treatment it wasn't enough to get him over the line hence his conviction.  If .... doesn't know where the shooting occured for Acts to be relevant, he should read more carefully.

Kurt | 22 March 2019 - 11:49:45

Are the posters talking about a Thai Mental Health Act or a New Zealand Mental Health Act?

christysweet | 22 March 2019 - 09:24:45

I watched the  video, it was a cold and calculated act, not a loss of control as would be with a mental illness. The long shot, chase and then execution of the woman in the street was a hunt for "sport." He spoke in military terms and behaved as if in a battle.  Use Firefox to search, Google blocks access.

Fascinated | 21 March 2019 - 23:35:05

Cleanup in aisle three please Mr Ed.

Capt B | 21 March 2019 - 18:59:18

3) Yes, we all know that Bryant was convicted. Facts ? It is still early days & a lot more investigation will be carried out into this horrific crime. "Mental Condition" ? I am sure that 99% of the world's population will agree, The guy was "off his rocker". 

Capt B | 21 March 2019 - 18:51:40

1) Mental Condition as per Section 32 of the Mental Health Act
"cognitive impairment"--and includes (without limitation) any of the following:(e) drug or alcohol related brain damage.  ----ie Brain Damage caused by psychotropic drugs.
2) Bryant would of had Brain Damage caused by psychotropic drugs, similar crime, possibly similar cause. Relevant.

Kurt | 21 March 2019 - 15:57:34

Ok, ok, ok, no facts that the gun man had a 'mental' condition???  So, normal to kill 50 people 'without a mental condition"? If not, it justifies to execute him after killing 50 people during their prayers. Or,...? The facts are there
Well, the murderer has been charged.

Jor12 | 21 March 2019 - 13:12:24

The posts don't make any sense. There are no facts which suggest the gunman had a "mental condition" as defined in the Mental Health Act, or of him taking medication. Therefore, of what relevance is the case of Martin Bryant? Given also that Byrant had sought medical treatment before the shooting, he was still convicted anyway. 

Capt B | 20 March 2019 - 18:55:03

Martin Bryant, before the Port Authur Massacre, sought psychiatric treatment, to which he was prescribed Prothiaden, a tricyclic antidepressant. 

Capt B | 20 March 2019 - 18:42:15

It would not be an "excuse",  however, if the massacre had of occurred in Australia, & he was on prescribed psychotropic drugs  he would be deemed to be "Not Guilty under Section 32 of the Mental Health Act." with a competent lawyer, however, it didn't help  Martin Bryant who is locked up until the Governor's Pleasure Be Known.  

Timothy | 20 March 2019 - 10:11:27

Sounds like someone is either off his meds, or has taken a double dose. 

DeKaaskopp | 19 March 2019 - 16:49:19

"addicted to psychotropic drugs" Would that be an excuse for his doings. Surprised that serial poster on here don't comment on this article.Commenting on daily accidents on Phuket is probably more important than 50 assassinated people. Maybe because they can't blame any Thais it is not worth to use any characters.

Capt B | 18 March 2019 - 11:35:21

Maybe the Mass Murderer was addicted to psychotropic drugs / anti-depressants or the AU Gov subsidized anti-smoking drug Champix (to justify $40 a pack cigs).Never forget the 24/03/2015 Germanwings flight 9525 where the Co-Pilot committed mass murder as a result of his addiction to anti-depressants. MH370 ? Mass murder & suicide are a known side effect of these prescribed drugs.

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