By Emanuel Stoakes, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Eli Rosenberg and Alex Horton | The Washington Post
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — A 28-year-old man was charged with murder after a shooting rampage Friday at two New Zealand mosques in which 49 people were killed and dozens of others injured in one of the largest mass shootings in history.
The shooter, wearing tactical gear and a camera attached to his outfit, entered the first mosque and shot hundreds of rounds into dozens of people, many of them huddled defenselessly. A short time later, he drove to a second mosque and renewed his rampage.
The suspect, identified by authorities as Brenton Harrison Tarrant, appeared in a Christchurch courtroom Saturday morning, dressed in white prison garb, with close-cropped hair and looking confidently around the courtroom. The Australian-born Tarrant did not enter a plea but was ordered to return to court on April 5. Judge Paul Kellar of the Christchurch District Court ordered that any photos of Tarrant be pixelated to obscure his image.
Two others were also implicated in the crimes, including 18-year-old Daniel John Burrough, who was charged with inciting racial hostility or ill will. The second alleged accomplice remained unidentified as of Friday evening Eastern time.
None of the individuals had criminal records in Australia or New Zealand, or were on security watch lists, said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who vowed that the country’s “gun laws will change” as a result of the massacre.
Ardern said New Zealand has suffered an “extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” lamenting in particular that the violence targeted the country’s immigrant population. “They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home,” she said. “They are us.”
The killing rampage touched a nerve around the world. President Donald Trump, in a statement issued Friday morning, extended his “warmest sympathy and best wishes” to the people of New Zealand. Later Friday, Trump said he does not believe white nationalism is a rising global danger. “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems,” he said.
The shooter broadcast the attack, which appeared live on social media platforms and was watched repeatedly across the globe. As media companies removed the video, which showed multiple people hit by gunfire, viewers found ways to repost it elsewhere.
Video of the shooting begins with the gunman driving to the mosque clad in tactical gear, his car full of weapons. It shows the shooting from his perspective — a chilling record of mass violence that police have warned people not to share. The shooter fires hundreds of rounds of bullets inside and outside Al Noor mosque, where the majority of the bloodshed occurred, retreating at one point to his car for another weapon. He doubles back on injured victims to make sure they are dead. The violence lasts about six minutes.
Witnesses at the mosque in Linwood said further bloodshed was averted when a caretaker jumped on the gunman and wrestled away his weapon, forcing him to flee, local media reported.
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Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News