A FURIOUS man tried to get into court to “knife” the New Zealand terror suspect as he appeared charged with the massacre that left 49 dead, reports claim.
Aussie-born Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder, according to court documents, and more charges are expected to be laid.
He appeared at Christchurch District Court today under heavy security, with more than 10 armed officers guarding the courtroom even before he entered.
The court was closed to the public during his appearance because of the “heightened security risk”.
But despite this, a member of the public tried to get into the courtroom to “knife” the suspected mass killer, The New Zealand Herald reported.
He showed the paper a knife he had brought to court.
“What the f*** has happened here,” he said of the mass killing.
After the hearing, New Zealand Police tweeted: “While the man is currently facing only one charge, further charges will be laid.
“Details of those charges will be communicated at the earliest possible opportunity.”
Tarrant, 28, has been accused of storming the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch during Friday prayers and opening fire, leaving 41 dead.
A further eight victims were killed at a mosque in Linwood Avenue in the city shortly after.
Police also found explosives in a car around three kilometres from where the two attacks took place.
Authorities say most if not all were killed by an immigrant-hating white supremacist.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared that the country’s laws will change as a result of the depraved terror attack which was broadcast live on Facebook.
Ms Ardern said the shooter had two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns and a lever-action firearm.
She said that he had obtained a gun licence in November 2017, adding: “Our gun laws will change.
“There were attempts to change the law in 2005 and 2012, and after an inquiry in 2017.
“Now is the time for change.”
Ms Ardern said the suspect had a Category A gun licence which enabled him to legally obtain semi-automatic weapons.
ARMED TO THE TEETH
When asked by a reporter whether semi-automatic weapons should be banned, she said that it was one issue which should be examined.
The young NZ leader, 38, said advice for mosques to close remains in place and that a police presence will continue.
Ms Ardern added that three people have been arrested over the attack, including an Australian who has been charged with murder.
She said: “This individual has travelled around the world with sporadic periods of time spent in New Zealand.
“They were not a resident of Christchurch, in fact they were currently based in Dunedin at the time of this event.
What we know so far:
- At least one gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, at 1.40pm local time on Friday
- 49 people have been killed – 41 at Masjid Al Noor Mosque, 7 at Linwood Masjid Mosque and 1 died at hospital
- 48 people were rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds and 20 are in critical condition
- The killer is believed to be Brenton Tarrant, an Australian who published a chilling 74-page manifesto before the rampage
- Cops arrested three men and a woman – initial reports of one wearing a suicide vest were incorrect
- Police defused improvised explosives found on nearby booby-trapped cars
“Inquiries are ongoing to establish whether the other two who were arrested were directly involved with this incident.
“The fourth person who was arrested yesterday was a member of the public who was in possession of a firearm, but with the intention of assisting police.
“They have since been released.”
Prime Minister Arden added that the safety of the public remains “our highest priority”.
She said: “New Zealand police remain on high alert.
“Christchurch residents are urged to stay home and stay safe.”
Speaking of the police officer who detained the suspect, Ms Ardern added: “Many of you may have seen the footage of the arrest and I can only describe it as an act of bravery on behalf of all New Zealanders and an act that showed very little regard for their own personal safety.”
Ms Ardern said: “I want to finish by saying that while the nation grapples with a form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers.
“As is the entire nation, we are all unified in grieving together.”
She added: “Rhetoric of racism, division and extremism has no place not only in New Zealand but I would say in a society as a whole.”
Earlier, it emerged a hero youngster took on the New Zealand Mosque terrorist – wrestling his gun off him before trying to shoot him, massacre survivors have claimed.
Syed Mazharuddin told how his fearless friend risked his life to tackle the white supremacist shooter who killed seven at the Linwood mosque, just after 41 lives were claimed at another nearby mosque in Christchurch minutes before.
The attack has plunged the country into mourning as New Zealanders struggle to come to grips with the mass killing – horrifically livestreamed on social media – that ranks among the worst in history.
The shooter – suspected to be 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant – had published a chilling 74-page manifesto online saying he was inspired by Norway mass murderer Anders Breivik before unleashing the shooting.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared it one of the country’s “darkest days”, while many of the injured remain critical amid fears the enormous death toll could rise even higher.
Four people are now in custody. One has been charged with murder, and it remains unknown what, if any, role the other three played.
Those who survived the horrific massacres have today revealed how they prayed for the gunman to run out of bullets – while one witnessed a friend heroically try to stop the shooter who killed 49 and injured 48.
SURVIVORS SPEAK OUT
Survivor Syed Mazharuddin told the NZ Herald: “The young guy who usually takes care of the mosque … he saw an opportunity and pounced on (the gunman) and took his gun,” said Mazharuddin.
“The hero tried to chase and he couldn’t find the trigger in the gun … he ran behind him but there were people waiting for him in the car and he fled.”
Mazharuddin revealed one of his friends died at the scene, another was left bleeding heavily as he tried to contact emergency services.
“I ran out and then the police came and they didn’t let me come back in again so I couldn’t save my friend, he was bleeding heavily,” he said.
“It took almost half an hour, more than half an hour by the time the ambulance could arrive and I think he must have died.”
The cruelty of the attack has been compounded by the white-supremacist gunman filming his rampage on a GoPro camera and streaming it live on Facebook.
Harrowing video showed him driving to a mosque, arming himself and then beginning the slaughter after declaring: “Let’s get this party started.”
The shooter had released a sick manifesto before the shooting – saying he was taking revenge for the “thousands of European lives lost to terror attacks”, adding: “I have read the writings of Dylan Roof and many others, but only really took true inspiration from Knight Justiciar Breivik.”
One woman told of her friend’s young daughter being shot through the heart while others described the “blood-curdling screams” of those fleeing in panic.
Ramzan Ali who was inside the Al Noor mosque – the scene of the deadliest shooting – told CNN he saw the man next to him get shot in the chest.
He said: “I was thinking that he must run out of bullets. I waited for that and prayed ‘Oh God, please let this man run out of bullets’.
“When he stopped the first time I went but the guy sitting beside me told me ‘no, no’.
“Next thing, the shooter came and shot this guy who told me not to get up.
“I know that guy. He shot him right in the chest.”
“The blood was splashing on me, and I was thinking ‘oh my God, oh my God, this is going to happen to me now’.”
Ali dived through an already broken window and believes he was the last person to get out of the mosque alive.
Another young man, Omar Nabi, told NBC News he had been given the devastating news his 71-year-old dad Daoud Nabi, had been killed after throwing himself in front of another worshipper.
Witness Nour Tavis said he was in the front row of the Al Noor Mosque with his friend when the shooting started.
“Then we heard screaming … everyone panicked,” he said. “There was shooting and shooting and shooting … people were running and all of a sudden you saw them fall.”
He told the New Zealand Herald he saw someone smash a window and jump out. “It was the only way to escape,” he said. “I followed.”
Tavis then scaled a fence and banged on a neighbouring house desperately hoping someone would answer and take him in to safety.
“We got in there and I could see another man had been shot, I could see blood,” he said. “There were people bleeding to death … it was terrible.”
Tavis’ told how his friend’s wife was tragically killed in the attack.
“When she heard the noise she wanted to go and make sure her husband was safe,” he said.
“She got the bullet, her husband got away. She was gone, she was no more.”
A victim who was filmed saying “hello brother” to the gunman before the massacre was unleashed has also been praised for his bravery as the shooter stormed inside.
Authorities say 41 people were killed at Masjid Al Noor Mosque, and another seven at Linwood’s Masjid Mosque in Christchurch at around 1.40pm local time. One more died in hospital.
The names of the victims have not been released but the governments of Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey and Pakistan have all confirmed to have had nationals injured or killed.
New Zealand Police commissioner Mike Bush said a man in his late twenties has been charged with murder and will appear in court tomorrow.
He added police were still trying to establish if the other three people arrested were involved, though one likely had “nothing to do” with the attack.
Police also defused a number of improvised explosives which were found on nearby booby-trapped cars following the bloodbath.
As Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern raised the country’s security to the highest level, she said: “It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack.”
She said the four people in police custody held extremist views, but had not been on any police watchlists.
In the twisted shooting footage, the gunman says “let’s get this party started” as he drives up to a mosque playing loud music.
He fired automatic weapons as people ran for their lives and executed people at point blank range – including one girl who lay on the floor screaming for help.
The shooter also says “Remember lads, subscribe to pewdiepie”, referencing the controversial YouTuber.
It has now emerged Tarrant is originally from Grafton, in New South Wales, Australia.
I think something must have changed in him during the years he spent travelling overseas
Tracey GrayFormer boss
His former boss, gym manager Tracey Gray, told Australia’s ABC News he used to work at Big River Gym as a personal trainer.
She told the site he worked there until he finished school in 2009 until 2011, when he left to go travelling overseas in Asia and in Europe.
She said: “He was a very dedicated personal trainer. He worked in our program that offered free training to kids in the community, and he was very passionate about that.
“I think something must have changed in him during the years he spent travelling overseas.
“He would train a lot, and some could say quite excessively, but then he was passionate about health and fitness and making those changes in his personal space.”
The site also reported his dad had passed away from cancer when Tarrant was a teenager, but he has a mum and sister.
She added: “I honestly can’t believe that somebody I have probably had daily dealings with and had shared conversations and interacted with would be capable of something to this extreme.”
In the live-streamed footage, the man is seen taking automatic weapons from his boot, daubed in bizarre references to historic Muslim wars.
He then enters and shoots down multiple people in the prayer room, as they run in panic.
The man shoots several people from the car park before stalking through the building, picking off people and shooting bodies on the floor.
The sicko drives off boasting about how he “should have stayed longer” and blaring music including “Fire” by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.
In a press conference, Police Commissioner Mike Bush warned: “We’re not assuming this is contained to Christchurch.”
He revealed that police in the city and elsewhere will be carrying guns for the next week or so.
Mr Bush said “there have been some absolute acts of bravery” in the arrests of the four attackers as he confirmed a “significant” amount of casualties.
“This is absolutely tragic. So many people are affected. We don’t have the identities of those who have died yet because those places are in lockdown.”
He said he would not assume there are not other attackers.
I was thinking that he must run out of bullets. I waited for that and prayed ‘Oh God, please let this man run out of bullets’
Police today were searching a property in Dunedin, around five hours’ drive south of Christchurch, connected to the incident, and had evacuated people in neighbouring homes.
The lockdown of schools throughout Christchurch was lifted at 5.50pm.
But patrols have been stepped up around mosques in other cities including Los Angeles “out of caution”.
CRICKET TEAM CAUGHT UP IN CARNAGE
The Bangladesh cricket team among worshippers caught up in the carnage – although all escaped unharmed.
Team manager Khaled Mashud said: “This was a kind of accident that we would never expect nor want in any part of the world.
“Only two of the players had stayed back in the hotel, and rest of the squad had gone there.
“We were very close to the mosque, and we could see from the bus. We must have been about 50 yards from the mosque.
“I would say we were really lucky. Had we arrived even three or four minutes earlier, we probably would have been inside the mosque.
“We are very thankful that we weren’t caught in the crossfire, but what we saw was straight out of a movie scene. We could see bloodstained people staggering out of the mosque.
“Maybe in about eight-10 minutes, we were all inside the bus and were sitting with our heads bowed, just in case someone fired at us.”
Mohammed Nazir told TVNZ he saw three women bleeding on the ground outside at Masjid Al Noor Mosque.
Another witness told the station: “My husband was driving past he said he took three people to the hospital, one was a little girl all been shot.
“He wanted to take more he said there was like a dozen people just lying on the road.”
Small children are said to be among the dead, and bodies have been reported laying on the ground outside.
One schoolboy caught up in the middle of shootings has described the blood-curdling “screams” amid the carnage.
Idris Khairuddin revealed Friday prayers were just about to start when multiple gunshots shattered the peace.
He said: “At first I thought it was just like construction work or something, then people were all running and screaming.”
The UK’s counter-terrorism chief today said he was stepping up patrols around mosques in the UK and Brit officers were ready to support their counterparts in New Zealand.
Thousands have already been raised for the victims of the terror attacks through a fundraising page set up by the New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups.
THE WORLD REACTS
Prime Minister Theresa May has led the UK condemnation of the Christchurch mosque shootings that killed 49 people.
In a tweet she sent “deepest condolences to the people of New Zealand after the horrifying terrorist attack in Christchurch”.
She added: “My thoughts are with all of those affected by this sickening act of violence.”
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Our hearts go out to the people of New Zealand following the news of this terrible act in Christchurch. NZ is one of the most peaceful, peace-loving and generous nations in the world. Your friends in the UK stand with you today in deepest sympathy.”
US President Donald Trump also tweeted a message that read: “My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured.
“The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”
The Queen said she is “deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today”, adding: “Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex also shared a message, writing: “We have all been fortunate to spend time in Christchurch and have felt the warm, open-hearted and generous spirit that is core to its remarkable people.
“No person should ever have to fear attending a sacred place of worship.”
Greater Manchester Police, who were part of the first response to the Manchester Area terror attack, also shared a message of support.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson from Greater Manchester Police, said: “It is hard to imagine the scene and how difficult it is for everyone in New Zealand. No doubt this tragedy will shake the people of New Zealand for many, many years.
“In Manchester we know all too well the effects of terrorism and the pain it causes for families and communities; and while this has happened on the other side of the world the hurt is shared here in Greater Manchester as well as across the UK.”
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said: “I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11 (where) 1.3 billion Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the attack was a deliberate demonising of Muslim political struggles.
KILLER’S LEGAL ARSENAL
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And Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he’s shocked at the “terrible attacks”.
Germany’s foreign minister said the attacks on the two mosques were a “brutal crime” that touches people of all religions around the world.
“The horrific terrorist attack in Christchurch targeted peacefully praying Muslims if people are murdered solely because of their religion, that is an attack on all of us.”
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