Christchurch: A 28-year-old man has been charged with murder in connection with the Christchurch terror attacks that killed 49 people.
The suspect has been identified as Brenton Harrison Tarrant. He appeared before the court on Saturday and was remanded in custody without plea until April 5.
The terror attack suspect, who live-streamed for about 17 minutes his violence through two mosques, is is a resident of Dunedin, about 360 km south of Christchurch, and is an Australian-born citizen.
Police treating the incident as terrorism and motive racial
Police is treating the incident as terrorism and motive racial. Several guns were recovered from both mosques. Two IEDs on a vehicle were disabled by the police later.
Flanked by two police officers, Tarrant appeared before a Christchurch court on murder charges, in white prison clothing. He was seen making the white power gesture and smirked when reporters photographed him during the hearing.
Brenton Tarrant remained silent throughout the hearing and looked at the media persons in the public gallery.
He is accused of murdering a man, whose name was withheld by Judge Paul Kellar on grounds of excessive hardship to his family.
Suspect may face further murder charges
Judge Kellar said it was “reasonable to assume” Brenton Tarrant would face further murder charges.
The suspect was remanded in custody without plea to the High Court in Christchurch on April 5. Duty lawyer Richard Peters said no bail application would be made.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the events in Christchurch represented an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence and acknowledged many of those affected may be migrants and refugees.
In addition to the dead, she said more than 20 people were seriously wounded. “It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” Ms Ardern said, adding that national security threat level was being raised to the second-highest level.