The 28-year-old main suspect in mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques on Friday that killed 49 people and injured dozens was produced in court a day after the attacks.
Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a Australian citizen, appeared before a local court in Christchurch today on murder charges and was sent to jail until his next scheduled appearance in the South Island city’s High Court on April 5.
Handcuffed, barefoot wearing a white prison suit, Tarrant did not speak. Flanked by two police officers, he smirked when media persons photographed him during the hearing and was seen making the white power gesture, New Zealand Herald reported.
Throughout the hearing, Brenton Tarrant, who had a cut on his upper lip, remained silent and looked at the media persons in the public gallery.
His court-appointed lawyer made no application for bail or name suppression. He was likely to face further charges, police said.
Nine people from India or of Indian origin have gone missing, the Indian envoy in New Zealand has said. Two Indians have died in the attacks, a third person is battling for his life, Asaduddin Owaisi, the leader of AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen Party) said.
“As per updates received from multiple sources there are 9 missing persons of indian nationality/ origin. Official confirmation still awaited. Huge crime against humanity. Our prayers with their families,” High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli tweeted.
The attack, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labelled as terrorism, was the worst ever peacetime mass killing in New Zealand and the country raised its security threat level to the highest.
She said the the country’s gun laws will be changed and toughened after the attack. Tarrant, obtained a “Category A” gun licence in November 2017 and began purchasing the five weapons used in Friday’s attacks the following month, she said.
The firearms included two semi-automatic rifles, two shotguns and a lever-action weapon, she said, speaking to reporters in Wellington before heading to Christchurch. He live-streamed footage of him going room-to-room, victim to victim, shooting people from close range as they struggled to crawl away.
(With inputs from ANI, Reuters and AFP)
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