A SICKENING attack on two mosques has left 49 dead and 48 injured in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Police have so far charged one man, Brenton Tarrant, with murder in connection with the rampage. Here’s what we know about the suspect.
Who is Brenton Tarrant?
Police have named 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant as a suspect in a massacre that left 49 dead and 48 injured in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The devastating attack at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque and the nearby Linwood Masjid took place at around 1.40pm on Friday, March 14.
Graphic footage of the attack and manifesto were published on the Facebook account of Brenton Tarrant, whose profile has since been removed.
The author of the document described themselves as “just a regular man from a regular family” in a 74-page manifesto published online moments before the rampage.
They said their family was “working class, low income” and that he had a regular childhood “without any great issues”.
They added: “I had little interest in education. I did not attend university as I had no great interest in anything offered in the universities to study.”
Tarrant appeared to come from a loving family, who still live in Grafton, Australia, and have been reeling from the rampage.
His father Rodney — a bin collector and competitive athlete — died from an asbestos-related illness aged 49 when his son was finishing school.
In a newspaper obituary, Rodney was described as having a “very friendly, gentle nature”.
After leaving school with poor grades, Tarrant worked at Big River Gym in Grafton, New South Wales, between 2009 and 2011.
His former manager Tracey Gray said he worked hard at his personal training and never gave any hints at the horror he would be responsible for years later.
He is said to have made some money from Bitconnect, a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin, and used those funds to set off on a seven-year trip around the world, along with inheritance from his dad.
The author of manifesto describes how they’d been preparing for the attack since their trip to Europe two years ago.
During his visit to France, they’d described a town in Eastern France as a “cursed place”, describing immigrants as “invaders”.
Former friends have speculated Tarrant was “perhaps radicalised” while on his travels, the New Zealand Herald reports.
He is said to have posted relentlessly on a right-wing web forum where users do not need to log in and can remain anonymous.
What clues did the manifesto give?
The author of the disturbing manifesto said he was inspired by Anders Breivik – the far-right terrorist who killed 69 kids of a Workers’ Youth League on the island of Utøya in Norway in 2011.
In the rambling document he vowed to take revenge for the “thousands of European lives lost to terror attacks”.
He also wrote: “I have read the writings of Dylan Roof and many others, but only really took true inspiration from Knight Justiciar Breivik.”
The use of “Knight” is a reference to the Knight’s Templar – a legion of Christian soldiers from the 12th century.
The author is understood to have filmed himself using a GoPro as he fired at worshippers in the Masjid Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch.
The names of modern terrorists, ancient military commanders and far-right symbols were scrawled on guns and magazines of ammunition before the rampage.
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Three people have been arrested in the wake of the attack, but only Tarrant has so far been named.
New Zealand Commissioner of Police Mike Bush said the attack was a “very well-planned event”.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”, adding: “What has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”
The identities of the dead have not yet officially been released.
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