Accused Christchurch massacre gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant smiled as he made a white power gesture in the dock as he was charged with murder.
Tarrant, 28, originally from Grafton, New South Wales but more recently a resident of Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island, had his hands chained to his waist as he wore white prison overalls.
Police allege that after opening fire inside the Al Noor Mosque Tarrant drove to the Linwood Masjid Mosque across town and continued his rampage.
Another man, 18, has also been charged with ‘exciting hostility or ill-will’ in relation to the mosque attacks but he did not appear in court.
Police arrested three men – including Tarrant and the 18-year-old – and a woman following Friday’s attack.
The unnamed woman remains in custody, while the third man who was arrested is not linked with the attacks and has been released.
A member of the public tried to storm the court to ‘knife’ the attacker before proceedings began, as citizens were barred from attending.
So far 50 people have been confirmed dead – including at least one child – while dozens more remain missing.
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Accused Christchurch massacre gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant (pictured) has made a white power gesture from behind a glass window, during a brief appearance in court
Flanked by two much taller armed security officers, Tarrant smiled faintly as he stood behind a small glass barrier which came up just above his eyes.
Tarrant, 28, originally from Grafton, New South Wales but more recently a resident of Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island, was dressed in a white custody outfit with a black sash around his waist
Chilling photos show blood soaked survivors emerging from the Linwood Mosque just minutes after Brenton Harrison Tarrant allegedly opened fire
Police allege that Tarrant began his shooting rampage at the Al Noor Masjidal Mosque in the city’s east, before driving across town to the Linwood Masjid Mosque and again opening fire
The short stocky man stood squarely in place beside two officers throughout the hearing.
He turned around to repeatedly glance at the media, at District Court Judge Paul Kaller and out the windows of the Christchurch District Court.
WHAT IS THE ‘WHITE POWER’ SIGN?
The ‘white power’ started off in internet forums as a joke and has been propelled by far-right commentators.
The ‘white power’ sign uses the three played fingers of the OK symbol which look like a ‘W’ and the circle formed by the thumb and index finger to resemble the head of a ‘P’.
The hand sign which copies the OK sign has its roots in the meme culture of the far-right and has been popularised by commentators such as Mike Cernovich and Milo Yiannopoulos.
It was developed by alt-right contributors to sites like 4chan and 8chan into a campaign dubbed ‘O-KKK’ to hijack of the innocuous looking hand gesture into something more sinister.
Milo Yiannopoulos has helped to popularise
But this was a hoax. A typically alt-right hoax which preys upon the outrage culture of its rivals and hides behind a veneer of irony.
Those who make the sign are able to feign ignorance of any evil connotations because the OK sign is so widespread and used in so many other contexts.
Recently four Alabama police officers in the States were suspended after a photo of them emerged making an upside down OK symbol.
At the beginning of the hearing he appeared to have a faint smile on his face, but it faded into a neutral expression as the hearing continued.
Security was tight, with about six security guards and police in total, the guards wearing black protective vests.
No members of the public were allowed to attend except for media ‘in the interest of public safety’, the judge said.
Tarrant was remanded in custody. His duty lawyer did not apply for bail. Nor did he apply for suppression on information of the proceedings.
The hearing was all over in just a few minutes, with Tarrant taking one final look at those gathered and marched away. Some victims’ relatives were waiting at the front doors to the court.
He has been charged with one count of murder but police say many more charges are expected to be laid when he reappears in the High Court on April 5.
Tarrant was photographed and filmed in court by New Zealand cameras but they have been ordered to pixellate his face in images from inside court.
The 18-year-old has also been charged with intent to excite hostility or ill will against any group of persons in New Zealand and publishing written matter which is insulting, court documents said.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed the death toll stands at 50, with 42 injured.
He said that after receiving the initial emergency call at 1.42pm local time, police took 36 minutes to track down and detain Tarrant.
‘That is an incredibly fast response time. You had a mobile offender across large metropolitan city. I am very happy with the response of our staff,’ Bush said.
Police arrested three men – including Tarrant and the 18-year-old – and a woman following Friday’s attacks.
Commissioner Bush said that the third man was spotted carrying a gun by a police officer, but after questioning it was revealed the man was on his way to collect his children from school and took the weapon to protect himself.
A man wearing military fatigues (pictured) was arrested outside Papanui High School. Police confirmed on Saturday that they had released the man who had taken a gun as protection when he went to pick up his kids from school
Makeshift vigils were underway in Christchurch on Saturday night, with one policewoman laying a bunch of flowers
Relatives and friends write names of victims of the massacre on paper hearts and string them along the street of Christchurch
Members of the Muslim community marched through Auckland ahead of a vigil for the 50 people killed in Christchurch
People pay their respect with floral tributes for victims of the mosque attacks. Vigils were underway across New Zealand
‘In terms of people who have been charged, we have – as you know, we apprehended four people on the day,’ Mr Bush said.
‘One was released quite early – a member of the public who just wanted to get their kids home, but decided to take a firearm.’
A surgeon from Christchurch Hospital described Friday’s events as ‘carnage’.
Families were crowded around the entrance to the hospital through Friday night, unsure if their loved ones were alive.
Police confirmed all bodies were recovered from the mosques by the end of the night, with a dozen operating theatres in use to save the lives of survivors.
Makeshift candlelit vigils were underway in Christchurch on Saturday night, with a remembrance ceremony planned for Monday.
Cards, flowers and messages of condolence were moved when the police cordon was lifted at 5.00pm local time.
Those who had gathered to show their respect lifted as much as they could carry to move it closer to the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Masjid Mosque where 50 people lost their lives on Friday.
Notes left alongside floral tributes read ‘This is not NZ’ and ‘we are one’ and ‘you are my friends, I will keep watch while you pray’ as New Zealanders echoed their Prime Minister Jacinda Adhern. She said: ‘These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and, in fact, have no place in the world’
Those who gathered at the vigil helped to being the floral tributes closer to the mosques where 50 people lost their lives during the shooting
The number of tributes rose quickly as New Zealanders gathered to pay their respects. A remembrance ceremony will be held on Monday
With hundreds of people gathering at Christchurch District Court, a heavy police presence was required – including armoured vehicles
Heavily armed police and sniffer dogs were also called in, but police commissioner Mike Bush said there was ‘no intelligence about current imminent threats’
The investigation is ongoing as police are seen scouring the shrubbery of a motel near the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch
There are fears for three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim (pictured) who was last seen at the Deans Avenue mosque with his father and brother Abdi
Naeem Rashid (pictured), from Abbottabad in Pakistan, was hailed a hero after he tried to wrestle the gun from the Christchuch shooter on Friday
Omar (pictured) said his father was one of the first Muslims in New Zealand, opening the Tuam Street mosque in Christchurch, after discovering the country was a ‘slice of paradise’
Abdul Qayyum (left) pays tribute to his friend and respected religious figure Ashraf Ali (right), who died in the Al Noor attack
The first victims of the terror attack have been confirmed as Haji Daud Nabi, 71, Naeem Rashid and his son Talha, 21.
Mr Rashid could be seen in the chilling live-stream of the attack at Al Noor Mosque attempting to pry the gun from the grip of Tarrant.
Two of Mr Nabi’s sons Omar, 43, and Yama, 45, appeared outside Christchurch District Court on Saturday morning where they shared photos and stories of their father.
Omar said his dad was one of the first Muslims in New Zealand, moving to Christchurch in 1977 and opening the Tuam Street mosque after discovering the country was a ‘slice of paradise’.
There are fears that several children who had accompanied their fathers to Friday prayers were killed when the gunman opened fire.
Among them is three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim who was last seen at the Deans Avenue mosque with his father and brother Abdi.
The accused gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant grew up in the rural New South Wales town of Grafton, but left the area in his early 20s following the death of his father Rodney to cancer.
He spent up to seven years travelling the world from 2011 onwards, and one woman who knew him before he left Grafton speculated to Daily Mail Australia that ‘something happened to him’ during this time. She also recognised him as being the man in the massacre video.
Tarrant claimed in a so-called ‘manifesto’ to have made money trading Bitcoin, enabling him to travel the world. He also spoke of visiting a wide range of countries including Pakistan, and a photograph showed him on a tourist trip to North Korea.
A picture posted on social media by a Pakistani hotel manager in 2018 appears to show him in the country during his time abroad.
But at some point he seems to have become obsessed with terrorist attacks that happened in Europe between 2016 and 2017. His ranting manifesto is filled with Neo-Nazi ideology and hatred for Muslim people.
Brenton Tarrant is pictured as a child being held by his keen athlete father who died of cancer in 2010 at the age of 50. He grew up in Grafton in the Northern River region of Australia’s New South Wales and worked as a personal trainer before leaving to travel the world
Tarrant grew up in a picture-perfect house (shown above) in Grafton in the Northern River region of Australia’s New South Wales
Witnesses reported hearing dozens of shots at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country’s South Island. Pictured is a still from a live-stream of the shooting
The shooter’s rampage began when he got into his car wearing military-style body armour and a helmet saying ‘let’s get this party started’
Timeline of terror: How the Christchurch shootings unfolded
Friday March 15, 1.30pm local time (12.30am GMT): Gunman identifying himself as Brenton Tarrant live-streams mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque as Friday prayers are underway. The Bangladesh cricket team were on their way to the mosque at the time.
1.42pm: Police respond to reports of shots fired in central Christchurch. People are urged to stay indoors and report any suspicious behaviour. Shortly afterwards, all schools in the city are placed into lockdown.
1.49pm: Gunman believed to have travelled to Linwood Masjid Mosque, where he shot dead seven people.
2.10pm: Police confirm they are attending an ‘evolving situation’ involving an ‘active shooter’
2.18pm: Hero cops detain gunman in dramatic roadside arrest, captured on camera by passing motorist.
3.30pm: Two explosive devices attached to a car are found and disarmed by a bomb squad at Strickland Street, not far from the Al Noor Mosque.
4pm: One person confirmed to be in custody. New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush says there have been ‘multiple fatalities’ at two locations – both mosques. Mosques across New Zealand urged to shut their doors.
4.10pm: Prime minister Jacinda Ardern calls it ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days’.
5.30pm: Mr Bush says three men and one woman are in custody. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison confirms one of those arrested is Australian.
7.30pm: Ms Ardern says 40 are dead and more than 20 are seriously injured but confirms the offender is in custody
National security threat level is lifted from low to high.
7.45pm: Britomart train station in central Auckland is evacuated after bags are found unattended. The bags were deemed not suspicious.
9pm: Death toll rises to 50 and Police Commissioner Bush reveals a man in his late 20s has been charged with murder.
Police are not looking for any named or identified suspects, he says, but adds that it would be ‘wrong to assume that there is no-one else’.
11.50pm: Investigation extends 240 miles to the south where homes are evacuated around a ‘location of interest’ in Dunedin.
Prosecutors in Bulgaria have launched a probe into Tarrant’s recent visit to the country.
He visited Bulgaria from November 9-15 last year claiming he wanted ‘to visit historical sites and study the history of the Balkan country’, according to Bulgaria’s public prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov.
Tsatsarov said he hoped the inquiry would establish if this was ‘correct or if he had other objectives’.
One woman who knew Tarrant before he left Grafton said he worked as a personal trainer who was obsessed with fitness but seemed like a well-adjusted young man.
In a twisted manifesto that he posted online before the massacre, Tarrant described himself as an ‘ordinary, white man’, who was born into a working class, low income family of Scottish, Irish and English decent.
The gunman wrote that he had ‘little interest in education’ growing up, and did not attend university as he had no great interest in anything offered at the schools.
He claimed he made some money investing in Bitconnect – a type of digital currency – before he then used the money to travel overseas.
Tarrant, who would later go on to become a personal trainer, inherited a love of physical fitness from his father, who reportedly died of an asbestos-related illness.
A woman who claims to have previously known Tarrant through the gym, alleged it was him in the live stream.
The woman, who did not wish to be named, said Tarrant always ‘threw himself into his own personal training’ before he later became a qualified a trainer and started training others.
After retrieving one of at least six assault rifles stored in his car, he walked up to the front door and began firing at the first person he saw
In addition to the dead, health officials said 48 people were being treated at Christchurch Hospital for gunshot wounds. Injuries ranged from minor to critical
A man breaks down in tears as he speaks on a mobile phone near a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand
He was very dedicated to his own training and to training others, she said.
‘He was in the gym for long periods of time, lifting heaving weights. He pretty much transformed his body,’ she said.
The woman also said she had not spoken to him or heard him talk about his political or religious beliefs.
‘From the conversations we had about life he didn’t strike me as someone who had any interest in that or extremist views,’ she said.
‘But I know he’s been travelling since he left Grafton. He has been travelling overseas, anywhere and everywhere.
‘I would say it’s something in the nature of his travels, something he’s been around.
‘I know he’s been to lots of different countries trying to experience lots of different things in life and I would say something’s happened in that time in his travels,’ she said.
In a previous Facebook message about a trip to Pakistan on Facebook, he wrote it was ‘an incredible place filled with the most earnest, kindhearted and hospitable people in the world,’ The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
‘The beauty of hunza and nagar valley in autumn cannot be beat,’ he stated.
Tarrant allegedly entered the Al Noor Mosque on Friday during afternoon prayers and opened fire, capturing the attack on a camera strapped to his helmet.
The distressing video streamed to his Facebook profile shows a man firing more than 100 shots at those inside while screaming worshippers run for their lives.
The guns were scrawled with the names of past mass killers and cities where the shootings occurred.
Local residents leave floral tributes at Deans Avenue near the Al Noor Mosque on March 16, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. At least 50 people are confirmed dead
Floral tributes are left before dawn at Deans Avenue near the Al Noor Mosque on March 16, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand
People taking part in a vigil at the New Zealand War Memorial on Hyde Park Corner following the mosque attacks in Christchurch
Pictured: Bloodied bandages on the road after the shooting at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch
At least one gunman opened fire at a mosque in New Zealand , shooting at worshippers and killing dozens of people. Pictured: A wounded man is helped from the scene
Police said the investigation had extended 240 miles to the south, where homes in Dunedin were evacuated around a ‘location of interest.’ They gave no details. Police are pictured in the city on Friday night
The alleged gunman’s rampage began when he got into his car wearing military-style body armour and a helmet saying ‘let’s get this party started’.
He then drove to the mosque listening to a Serbian folk song glorifying war criminal Radovan Karadzic and military tunes before parking in an alley around the corner.
After retrieving one of at least six guns stored in his car, he walked up to the front door and began firing indiscriminately at worshippers inside.
The gunman stormed inside and fired quick bursts at anyone he saw. One wounded man tried to crawl away but was shot again after he calmly reloaded.
He fired into crowds of huddled worshippers, sometimes not even looking where he was shooting and reloading numerous times.
When the sound of his gun stopped between magazines, the moaning of wounded people could be heard until the shots began again.
Several times he stood over wounded men, reloaded his gun, and shot them multiple times to make sure they were dead.
Tarrant then walked outside and appeared to fire on at least two targets, returned to his car and swapped his shotgun for a rifle.
The gunmen live-streamed the mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque, which happened at 1.30pm as Friday prayers were underway. Police are pictured outside the mosque on Friday
Survivors gather near the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Road hours after the place of worship was attacked
How killer’s rifles bore white-supremacist references
The self-proclaimed racist who attacked a New Zealand mosque during Friday prayers in an assault that killed 50 people used rifles covered in white-supremacist graffiti and listened to a song glorifying a Bosnian Serb war criminal.
These details highlight the toxic beliefs behind an unprecedented, live-streamed massacre, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days.’
Some of the material posted by the killer resembles the meme-heavy hate speech prominent in dark corners of the internet. Beneath the online tropes lies a man who matter-of-factly wrote that he was preparing to conduct a horrific attack.
The shooter’s soundtrack as he drove to the mosque included an upbeat-sounding tune that belies its roots in a destructive European nationalist and religious conflict.
The nationalist Serb song from the 1992-95 war that tore apart Yugoslavia glorifies Serbian fighters and Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic, who is jailed at the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague for genocide and other war crimes against Bosnian Muslims.
A YouTube video for the song shows emaciated Muslim prisoners in Serb-run camps during the war. ‘Beware Ustashas and Turks,’ says the song, using wartime, derogatory terms for Bosnian Croats and Muslims.
When the gunman returned to his car after the shooting, the song ‘Fire’ by English rock band ‘The Crazy World of Arthur Brown’ can be heard blasting from the speakers. The singer bellows, ‘I am the god of hellfire!’ as the man, a 28-year-old Australian, drives away.
At least two rifles used in the shooting bore references to Ebba Akerlund, an 11-year-old girl killed in an April 2017 truck-ramming attack in Stockholm by Rakhmat Akilov, a 39-year-old Uzbek man.
The self-proclaimed racist believed to have killed 50 people at a New Zealand mosque during Friday prayers apparently opened fire with rifles covered in white-supremacist graffiti and listened to a song glorifying a Bosnian Serb war criminal
Akerlund’s death is memorialized in the gunman’s apparent manifesto, published online, as an event that led to his decision to wage war against what he perceives as the enemies of Western civilization.
The number 14 is also seen on the gunman’s rifles. It may refer to ’14 Words,’ which according to the Southern Poverty Law Center is a white supremacist slogan linked to Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf.’
He also used the symbol of the Schwarze Sonne, or black sun, which ‘has become synonymous with myriad far-right groups,’ according to the center, which monitors hate groups.
In photographs from a now deleted Twitter account associated with the suspect that match the weaponry seen in his live-streamed video, there is a reference to ‘Vienna 1683,’ the year the Ottoman Empire suffered a defeat in its siege of the city at the Battle of Kahlenberg. ‘Acre 1189,’ a reference to the Crusades, is also written on the guns.
Four names of legendary Serbs who fought against the 500-year-rule of the Ottomans in the Balkans, written in the Cyrillic alphabet, are also seen on the gunman’s rifles.
The name Charles Martel, who the Southern Poverty Law Center says white supremacists credit ‘with saving Europe by defeating an invading Muslim force at the Battle of Tours in 734,’ was al
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