The suspected gunman who killed dozens of people in New Zealand is an Australian ‘racist eco-fascist’ who posted a 74-page manifesto online before the shootings and described Donald Trump as a “symbol of white supremacy”.
The man, who identified himself in a livestream of the massacre as Brenton Tarrant, said he was motivated by far-right extremism he saw in the United States to carry out the attack at Al Noor Mosque.
At least 49 people were gunned down dead in two mosques in New Zealand. At least 41 people were killed at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch while at least seven people died inside the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque.
The suspect has been charged with murder while three other people have been held in custody.
Police have said a man in his late 20s has been charged with murder and will appear at the Christchurch court on Saturday morning.
Footage of the attack at the Al Noor mosque was posted under the username ‘Brenton Tarrant 9’ and shows the gunman firing 205 times on men, woman and children and stopping only to reload his weapons.
Tarrant also appears to have posted a link to a manifesto on a now-deleted Twitter account and the online forum 8chan where he spoke of his hatred for Muslim immigrants in Europe.
In it, he says he was inspired by mass killer Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011. He also mentions Finsbury Park terrorist Darren Osborne as well as London mayor Sadiq Khan.
He also goes on to rail against mass immigration and said he views Donald Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity”.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the shooter was Australian and described him as an “extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist”.
The manifesto included various questions and answers, one of which asked: “Who are you?”
The reply said: “Just a ordinary White man, 28 years old. Born in Australia to working class, low income family.
“My parents are of Scottish, Irish and English stock. I had a regular childhood, without any great issues. I had little interest in education during my schooling, barely achieving a passing grade.”
He added: “I am just a regular White man, from a regular family. Who decided to take a stand to ensure a future for my people.”
The manifesto said he carried out the attack “to show the invaders that our lands will never be their lands, our homeland are our own and that, as long as a white man still lives, they will NEVER conquer our lands and they will never replace our people”.
He said he was in New Zealand temporarily while he “planned and trained” the attack.
With regard to planning the attack, he wrote: “I begun planning an attack roughly two years in advance and an attack at the location in Christchurch three months in advance.”
Four suspects have been taken into custody following the shooting and the gunman has been charged with murder.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said: “This can only be described as a terrorist attack. While we do not have anything to believe at this stage that there were any other suspects, we are not assuming that at this stage.”