New zealand mosque Brenton Tarrant
© Reuters / New Zealand Herald / Mark Mitchell
Brenton Tarrant, charged for murder in the Christchurch District Court after 49 died and over 40 were injured in a shooting rampage on two New Zealand mosques
Australian-born Brenton Tarrant has been formally charged with murder in a shooting rampage that left 49 people dead in two New Zealand mosques. Police said more charges will be filed against him. Three more people are in custody.

Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian man, was charged with murder over the Christchurch massacre during a brief court appearance on Saturday. He did not request bail and was ordered to remain in custody until the date of his next hearing, scheduled for April 5.

The investigation is led by New Zealand police and assisted by Australian police in New South Wales. NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing told media that the region's joint counterterrorism unit has joined the investigation. Tarrant's relatives have been assisting the police as well.

Tarrant was escorted to a heavily-guarded courtroom under unprecedented security measures as agitated people flocked to the Christchurch District Court, even though it was closed to the public and only accredited media members were allowed in.

There were calls by some people from the crowd to lynch Tarrant before the hearing.

Just as he was about to be brought into court, one person wielding a knife attempted to enter the courtroom, New Zealand Herald reported. The man reportedly told the paper that he wanted to stab the suspect.

"What the f*** has happened here," he told reporters. Another man was cited shouting "rot in f****** hell" as he drove by the courthouse.

Tarrant reportedly hails from the town of Grafton, in northeastern New South Wales, but has been living in Dunedin, New Zealand, for quite some time, according to the reports in the local media. While in Australia, he worked as a personal trainer at a local gym in Grafton from 2009 to 2011, ABC reported.

He is alleged to have penned a 74-page manifesto, titled "The Great Replacement" where he delves into what had inspired him to carry out the shootings and vows "revenge" against Muslim "invaders." The manifesto was reportedly written two weeks before the attacks. Tarrant also livestreamed his rampage online on Facebook. The footage in which he goes from room to room gunning down worshippers was promptly taken down on police request.

RT reports that the gunman suspected of killing 50 people in two New Zealand mosques sent his manifesto to state authorities just minutes before the shooting, PM Jacinda Ardern said, but "no specific details" were included.

The prime minister said she was among over 30 others who received the mailed manifesto just nine minutes before the tragedy unfolded. "It did not include a location, it did not include specific details," she told reporters on Sunday.

Ardern added that the mail was transferred to the security services within two minutes after it was received.

Ardern made it clear that the timing of the email and the information it contained left too little time to respond.
I want to give assurances that [if it had] provided details that could have been acted upon immediately, it would have been. There unfortunately were no such details in that email.
Armed police were on the scene within six minutes of receiving an emergency call on Friday afternoon, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said. The suspect was detained in 36 minutes.

RT further adds that:

The Christchurch attacker could have killed even more people as he was on the move at the time of his arrest, and had more firearms in his car, New Zealand's PM said, praising police who responded to the call in just 36 minutes.

"The offender was mobile, there were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in, and it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters in the aftermath of the gun rampage that killed 50 people in two Christchurch mosques.

Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, was apprehended 36 minutes after the first call, the prime minister revealed as she praised the two rural community policemen from Lincoln, a small town 22km southwest of Christchurch, who responded to the emergency.

Dramatic footage that surfaced online after the attack shows two officers - one of whom appears to be armed only with a handgun - pointing their weapons at the passenger door and then forcing a black-clad man out of the vehicle.

Facebook erased 1.5mn instances of NZ mosque attack video in 24 hours after the massacre.

"In the first 24 hours we removed 1.5 million videos of the attack globally, of which over 1.2 million were blocked at upload," Facebook tweeted, citing Garlick.

While the stomach-churning footage of the attack is extremely graphic and expressly violates Facebook Community Standards against violence and criminal behavior, Facebook has decided to go one step further and ban all clips from the video even if they don't feature any graphic imagery, Garlick said.

"Out of respect for the people affected by this tragedy and the concerns of local authorities, we're also removing all edited versions of the video that do not show graphic content," she said.

The gruesome 17-minute video was promptly taken down by Facebook after a police alert. Facebook also yanked Tarrant's Facebook and Instagram pages and cracked down on messages praising the attacker or his rampage.

The attacker, who was charged with murder in a brief court appearance on Friday and is expected to face more charges, tried hard to publicize his atrocity even before he went on the shooting spree, releasing a long, hatred-filled manifesto and sending it to the New Zealand prime minister's office, as well as to several local and international media outlets.

The manifesto cites Tarrant's inspirations for carrying out the attack. The shooter idealized historical figures and crusaders who waged wars against Muslims and vowed "revenge" to "invaders." He also mentioned visiting several European and Asian countries before his attack, including the UK, Turkey, Pakistan, and Bulgaria, which are now investigating the purpose of those visits. Tarrant is also alleged to have visited North Korea. A photo circulating online allegedly shows him in front of one of the reclusive state's famous landmarks.