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Christchurch shooter smirks in court (2nd Lead)

IANS  |  Christchurch 

Twenty-eight-year-old Brenton Tarrant, who is the main suspect in the massacre of 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch, showed no remorse as he appeared in a court here on Saturday and smirked as the read a single murder charge against him.

The right-wing extremist who filmed himself during the Friday rampage, appeared before the Christchurch district court in a white prison jumpsuit, handcuffed and barefoot. Flanked by two police officers, he smirked when media photographed him and was seen making a white supremacist sign with his hands, Herald reported.

The Australian stood silently during the brief hearing as he was charged with one count of murder. He was remanded in custody without plea and is due to appear in court on April 5.

did not reveal the victim's name on grounds of undue hardship to his family.

Two other people were in custody over the incident. None of those detained had a criminal record.

After Tarrant left the court, Kellar said that while "there was one charge of murder brought at the moment, it was reasonable to assume that there will be others".

Speaking at a news conference on Saturday, said the suspect's car was full of weapons, suggesting "his intention to continue with his attack".

He had obtained a gun licence in November 2017 that allowed him to buy the weapons used in the attack. Ardern said that the guns appeared to have been modified.

"The mere fact... that this individual had acquired a gun licence and acquired weapons of that range, then obviously I think people will be seeking change, and I'm committing to that," she said.

New Zealand's said the government would look into banning semi-automatic weapons, but that no final decision had been made.

Tarrant, who grew up in the Australian town of Grafton, had been living in the Dunedin, about 360 km south of Christchurch.

The were investigating Tarrant's connections around Before his appearance at the court, Police said Tarrant had been charged with one count of murder, with other charges to follow.

Tarrant was one of three people arrested in connection with the shootings at the and the The other two remain in custody but their role in the shootings was unclear, said.

A fourth person who had been taken into custody was later determined to be an armed bystander who wanted help police.

Ardern, while speaking at the on Saturday, said bodies were still being removed from the - the site of the first attack.

She added that financial support would be made available to those who had lost someone on whom they were financially dependent.

A total of 48 people were wounded in the shootings.

India, and all say some of their citizens were killed in the shooting and others are unaccounted for.

Friday's killing was a terrorist attack that appeared orchestrated for the The brutal shootings were previewed on an and then graphically live-streamed on

An 87-page manifesto, found by authorities after it was posted online, was filled with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim ideas.

According to the latest census figures, Muslims make up about 1.1 per cent of New Zealand's population of 4.25 million. Numbers rose sharply as took in refugees from various war-torn countries since the 1990s.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 16 2019. 14:40 IST