Brenton Tarrant, the accused killer of 49 people in two mosque shootings in Christchurch, flashed a white power symbol during his first court appearance. Photos show Tarrant flashing the “OK” symbol that the white supremacy movement has adopted as an alt-right code.
The accused killer also smiled. He only faces one charge but more are expected to be added, authorities have said. According to Daily Beast, he didn’t ask for an order that would have prevented the media in New Zealand from using his name. The news site also said the public wasn’t let into the actual courtroom.
A few new details were released about Brenton Harrison Tarrant. For example, the court was told that Tarrant used “five guns, including semi-automatic rifles and shotguns and was in possession of a gun license,” Mirror reported.
In his manifesto, Tarrant says he received the blessing from a group called the “reborn Knights Templar” (after the Christian soldiers during the Crusades) and indicates he was inspired by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, who also wrote a manifesto that talked about a reborn Knights Templar, although prosecutors thought Breivik made it up to inspire others. You can read more about Breivik and the so-called reborn Knights Templar here.
Brothers Yama Nabi and Omar Nabi were at the courthouse in honor of their father Daoud Nabi, who was the first victim to be named in the mosque tragedy. Omar Nabi previously told NBC News that his father, 71, “had thrown himself in front of another worshipper and been shot.” He also said that Daoud Nabi would reach out to help refugees in his community. It was one of several stories of heroism to emerge. You can see a roundup of tributes to all of the victims here as their names are released.
Authorities said previously that three people, including Tarrant, were in custody. However, they have said almost nothing about those other two people – just that they are under investigation. Those people have not been named.
New Zealand police issued a series of tweets on March 15, 2019, in which they focused on Tarrant. Referring to Tarrant, New Zealand police wrote: “The 28-year-old man charged with murder in relation to this attack has appeared in Christchurch District Court this morning.”
They also indicated, again referring to Tarrant, a white nationalist, “While the man is currently facing only one charge, further charges will be laid. Details of those charges will be communicated at the earliest possible opportunity.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Brenton Tarrant Wore a Prison Smock & Made the White Power Gesture With His Hand
All eyes were on Brenton Tarrant in court on March 15, 2019, the day after the horrific mass shooting that horrified the world and shocked the conscience of New Zealand. According to the Guardian, Tarrant, 28, “was dressed in white prison clothing and looked confused at times. He made a white power gesture with his hand from the dock.”
FBC News reported that Tarrant smiled when he appeared in court. He was heavily guarded and wearing a prison smock. His next court hearing will be April 5, and he didn’t seek bail, Guardian reported. It’s likely he will be hit with more charges.
The New Zealand prime minister says that 50 people lost their lives and 20 were wounded in the horrific twin attacks on two mosques in Christchurch. Tarrant, who wrote a lengthy manifesto ranting about Muslims and global immigration patterns, also livestreamed the attack on Facebook. The extremely disturbing video shows the entire shooting scene in one of the two mosques, as the man who appears to be Brenton Tarrant ruthlessly guns down helpless people, including many who were already wounded.
The attacker is from Grafton, Australia, and he’s a former fitness trainer who wrote that he became radicalized when he left to see the world. His ideology seems grounded in white nationalism and racial grievance, especially against Muslims or those who aren’t European, and he scrawled the names of other mass shooters on his weapon.
Meanwhile, a second man has been accused of inciting racial hatred, although the details of that offense are not clear.
“A second man Daniel John Burrough, 18, of Christchurch has been charged with intent to excite hostility or ill will against any group of persons in New Zealand on the ground of the colour, race or ethnic or national origins, published written matter which is insulting,” reported the news station FBC.com, in a story that focused on the Tarrant court hearing.