Christchurch shootings: Attack suspect Brenton Tarrant appears in court : International de

2019-03-16

Brenton TarrantBrenton Tarrant, 28, appeared in court on Saturday in relation to the mosque attacks

The main suspect in the mosque shootings that killed 49 people in New Zealand on Friday has appeared in court on a single murder charge.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, appeared in the dock in a white prison shirt and handcuffs. Further charges are expected to be made against him.

PM Jacinda Ardern said Mr Tarrant had five guns and a firearms licence, adding: “Our gun laws will change.”

Two others are in custody. None of those detained had a criminal record.

Mr Tarrant was remanded in custody without plea and is due appear in court again on 5 April.

The first victim of Friday’s attack has been named by his family as Daoud Nabi, 71, who moved to New Zealand from Afghanistan in the 1980s.

The identities of the other victims have not yet been released.

A total of 48 people were wounded in the shootings. Among those injured are two young boys – aged two and 13. Eleven of those being treated at Christchurch Hospital are in a critical condition in intensive care, chief of surgery Greg Robertson said.

Bangladesh, India and Indonesia all say some of their citizens were killed in the shooting and others are unaccounted for.

On Saturday, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel expressed “revulsion” at this “act of terrorism” and voiced solidarity with the victims.

“We have welcomed new people into our city. They are our friends, they are our neighbours,” she told reporters. “We want to come together to support them.”

She added that flags would fly at half-mast on government buildings in the city “until further notice”.

Security remains tight across Christchurch. All mosques in New Zealand have been closed.

How events unfolded

The first report of an attack came from the Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch during Friday prayers at 13:40 (00:40 GMT.

A gunman drove to the front door, entered and fired on worshippers for about five minutes.

The gunman, who live-streamed the attack from a head-mounted camera, identified himself as Brenton Tarrant in the footage, which showed him shooting at men, women and children.

The gunman is then said to have driven about 5km (three miles to another mosque in the suburb of Linwood where the second shooting occurred.

One witness described how one of the worshippers had managed to disarm the man, who ran to a waiting car outside.

It is not clear where the arrests were made.

Police say they recovered firearms from both mosques, and explosive devices were found in a car belonging to one of the suspects.