Eli Ridder | Report
In the aftermath of one of the worst mass shootings in recent history, New Zealand police announced that the attack on two Christchurch mosques have now resulted in the deaths of 50.
The update from New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush came within the same day that the one suspect appeared in court. Police said two other suspects brought into custody were not connected to the shooting.
Brenton Harrison Tarrant appeared in court flankd by tight security, shackled and wearing all-white prison garb, and showed no emotion when the judge read him one murder charge, reported local media.
Tarrant made an OK symbol with his hand, a sign sometimes associated with white nationalists. He is the only remaining suspect in Friday’s attack on dual mosques, where bodies were piled up as bullets slammed into Muslims during prayer time.
The judge said it would be “reasonable to assume” more charges would follow. Initial numbers of those killed were quickly above 40 as the news broke, and almost as many were injured.
Tarrant’s photo was taken in court but his face had to be blurred to “preserve any fair trial rights”, reported the New Zealand Herald — adding that he smirked.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the massacre marked “one of New Zealand’s darkest days” and the accused, an Australian native, had chosen to strike in New Zealand “because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion”.
Image of vigil in New Zealand from social media.