NZ Terror Attack: Shooter Smirks After Being Charged With Murder
Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old white man who carried out the terror attack. 
Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old white man who carried out the terror attack. (Photo: Twitter)

NZ Terror Attack: Shooter Smirks After Being Charged With Murder

A right-wing extremist who filmed himself on a shooting rampage that left 49 mosque-goers dead flashed a white power gesture as he appeared in a New Zealand court on Saturday, 16 March, charged with murder.

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 are 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 made an upside-down "okay" signal – a symbol used by white power groups across the globe – and smirked when the media persons photographed him during the hearing, reported New Zealand Herald. He did not request bail and was taken into custody until his next court appearance which is scheduled for 5 April.

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Also Read : New Zealanders Reach Out To Muslims In The Wake Of Mosque Attack

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.

The last comparable mass shooting in New Zealand was almost three decades ago, and the annual murder rate is usually around 50 people for the entire country.

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

Also Read : New Zealand Shooting Suspect Charged With Attack on 2 Mosques

"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.

New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern said the shooter was “in possession of a gun licence” obtained in November 2017, and he started legally purchasing the weapons the following month.

Two semi-automatic weapons, reportedly AR-15s, two shotguns and a lever-action gun were used in the attacks. Ardern said some of the guns had been modified to make them deadlier.

“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".

(With inputs from New Zealand Herald and PTI.)

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