Christchurch shootings: Attack suspect Brenton Tarrant appears in court


16th March, 2019 08:46:13 printer

Christchurch shootings: Attack suspect Brenton Tarrant appears in court


The main suspect in the mosque shootings that killed 49 people in New Zealand on Friday has appeared in court on a single murder charge.


Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, appeared in the dock in a white prison shirt and handcuffs. Further charges are expected to be made against him.


PM Jacinda Ardern said Mr Tarrant had five guns and a firearms licence, adding: "Our gun laws will change."


Two others are in custody. None of those detained had a criminal record.


Mr Tarrant was remanded in custody without plea and is due appear in court again on 5 April.


The first victim of Friday's attack has been named by his family as Daoud Nabi, 71, who moved to New Zealand from Afghanistan in the 1980s.



The identities of the other victims have not yet been released.


A total of 48 people were wounded in the shootings. Among those injured are two young boys - aged two and 13. Eleven of those being treated at Christchurch Hospital are in a critical condition in intensive care, chief of surgery Greg Robertson said.


Bangladesh, India and Indonesia all say some of their citizens were killed in the shooting and others are unaccounted for.



How events unfolded


The first report of an attack came from the Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch during Friday prayers at 13:40 (00:40 GMT).


A gunman drove to the front door, entered and fired on worshippers for about five minutes.


The gunman, who live-streamed the attack from a head-mounted camera, identified himself as Brenton Tarrant in the footage, which showed him shooting at men, women and children.



The gunman is then said to have driven about 5km (three miles) to another mosque in the suburb of Linwood where the second shooting occurred.


According to the latest census figures, Muslims make up about 1.1% of New Zealand's population of 4.25 million.


Numbers rose sharply as New Zealand took in refugees from various war-torn countries since the 1990s.


What are New Zealand's gun laws?


The minimum legal age to own a gun in New Zealand is 16, or 18 for military-style semi-automatic weapons.


All gun-owners must have a licence, but most individual weapons do not have to be registered - New Zealand is one of the few countries where this is the case.


Applicants for a firearm licence must pass a background check of criminal and medical records, including factors such as mental health and domestic violence.


Once a licence has been issued, gun-owners can buy as many weapons as they want.