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Primary suspect in deadly Christchurch shooting charged with murder

March 16, 2019

Photo: AFP

The primary suspect in the deadly Christchurch shooting appeared in a New Zealand court Saturday and was charged with murder, reported The Guardian.

The 28-year-old Australian, identified as Brenton Harrison Tarrant, killed 49 people and injured 48 others after he opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.

As of Saturday, 39 people are still in the hospital, with 11 in intensive care. This includes children and the elderly.

Authorities have two other suspects in custody. One has been identified as 18-year-old Daniel John Burrough while the other remains unidentified. Tarrant is scheduled to appear in court again on April 5 while Burrough will appear before a court today (Saturday).

Related: Four Pakistanis injured, five reported missing in mass shooting at New Zealand mosques: FO

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said five weapons – two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns and a lever-action firearm — were used in the deadly attack and that the attacker had a licence. She vowed that gun laws in the country will change during a press conference.

The attack was the deadliest in New Zealand’s history and has been declared by Prime Minister Ardern as an act of terrorism. The suspect had white supremacist symbols on his weapons and when he appeared in court, he made a sign widely known as a symbol of white power.

Tarrant streamed the attack live on Facebook.

Related: 49 dead after mass shooting at mosque in New Zealand

According to the Washington Post, Tarrant’s ‘manifesto’ was littered with conspiracy theories about white birthrates and “white genocide.” It was the latest sign that a lethal vision of white nationalism has spread internationally. Its title, “The Great Replacement,” echoed the title of a book by a far-right French polemicist, as well as the rallying cry of, among others, the torch-bearing protesters who marched in Charlottesville in 2017.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed a press conference and said it is too early to tell whether the suspect will be extradited, adding that it depends on New Zealand’s justice system.

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