Forty nine worshippers are dead, and another 48 injured after simultaneous terrorist attacks targeting mosques in Christchurch, NZ. The gunman, allegedly Brenton Tarrant, live streamed himself slaughtering his victims.
Nearly 50 people are dead and more injured in Christchurch, New Zealand after a gunman launched coordinating attacks on two mosques in the city on March 15, and live streamed the massacre on Facebook. The alleged gunman has now been named as Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old personal trainer from Australia who called himself a “regular white man, from a regular white family who decided to take a stand to ensure a future for my people.” He also described himself as an ethnonationalist and a fascist.
Tarrant reportedly identified himself online before the attack, posting photos showing what appeared to be assault rifle magazines to his since-deleted Twitter account. He also posted a link to a manifesto outlining his reason for allegedly carrying out the massacre at the Noor mosque and the Linwood mosque, according to The Guardian. Police have not confirmed that Tarrant is one of the four people they have in custody, but revealed in a March 15 press conference that one man “in his late 20s” has been charged with murder. They confirmed that 41 people died at one mosque, seven at the second mosque, and one at the Christchurch hospital.
In the 74-page manifesto, titled “The Great Replacement,” Tarrant writes that he allegedly planned the attack to “create an atmosphere of fear” and to “incite violence” against Muslims. He also quoted the Dylan Thomas poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night” before ranting about white genocide. Tarrant claimed in his screed that he made “brief contact” with convicted Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, who allegedly gave him his “blessing.” Breivik killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, and is currently serving a 21-year prison term.
Tarrant explained in the manifesto, according to The Guardian, that he targeted the area because he “found out that New Zealand was as target rich of an environment as anywhere else in the west. He wrote that he wanted to send the message that “nowhere in the world is safe,” and that “I chose firearms for the affect it would have on social discourse, the extra media coverage they would provide and the effect it could have on the politics of United States and thereby the political situation of the world.”
The attack at the Linwood mosque was where the gunman, allegedly Tarrant, used a body cam to show him entering a worship service and gunning down innocent victims. The video, which has since been removed from Facebook, showed the gunman drive up to the mosque, enter with a rifle and open fire. He then went back to his car, got a new weapon, and went back in to the mosque to shoot at the crowd. He also said, “remember lads … subscribe to PewDiePie,” naming the controversial YouTuber. The video has since been scrubbed from the web.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden denounced the vile attacks in a powerful statement. “Whilst I cannot give any confirmation at this stage around fatalities and casualties, what I can say is that it is clear that this is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” she wrote. Clearly, what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence. Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand.
There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence, which it is clear this act was. For now, my thoughts, and I’m sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders, are with those who have been affected, and also with their families. My thoughts also to those in Christchurch, who are still dealing with an unfolding situation. The advice from police continues to be that people remain indoors. I acknowledge that that may mean that some families are separated, but please continue to listen out for information as it comes to light that’s been directly provided by the New Zealand Police with further information.” Muslims make up only one percent of New Zealand’s population.”
Before Friday’s tragic massacre, New Zealand’s worst mass shooting was in 1990 when a gunman killed 13 men, women and children in a 24-hour rampage in the tiny seaside village of Aramoana. He was killed by police.