Twenty-eight-year-old Brenton Tarrant, the main suspect in the Christchurch terror attack that claimed 49 lives, was charged with murder at a court here on Saturday as New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed to change the country's gun laws.
The right-wing extremist 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 during the hearing and was seen making a white supremacist sign with his hands.
The Australian stood silent 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.
Two other people were also being investigated over the attacks. These three detained people were not on any New Zealand or Australian watchlists and were not known to the police.
According to authorities, it remained unclear how many attackers were involved in the attack or if the same man attacked both mosques.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: "The man is currently facing one count of murder but there will be further charges". She visited a refugee and migrant centre in Christchurch as thousands of people across the country laid flowers at mosques and attended vigils.
Speaking at a news conference, the Prime Minister 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. He used five guns, including two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns. "A lever-action firearm was also found," she said, later adding 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 committed to that," she said.
Campbell said the email was sent to a "generic" email account that was maintained by staff, and was not seen by the Ardern. The shooter's hate-filled 87-page manifesto contained anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim ideas and was also posted online before the attack.
According to the BBC, 49 victims were identified including Daoud Nabi, 71, originally from Afghanistan. He moved his family to New Zealand in the 1980s to escape the Soviet invasion. Nabi was a community leader in New Zealand and a known supporter of other migrant groups.
In the aftermath of the carnage, New Zealanders rallied to offer support and sympathies for the victims, leaving flowers and messages at sites close to the Al Noor Mosque. Vigils were held at mosques and community centres worldwide.
Sydney's Opera House was lit up in New Zealand colours. A silver fern, the national symbol was projected in the middle of the building. The Eiffel Tower in Paris also went dark. The spire of New York's One World Trade Centre was lit in the colours of New Zealand's flag.
Meanwhile, more details about the shooting suspect's travels throughout Europe emerged. Bulgarian Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov said that the shooter visited Bulgaria between November 9 and 15 of last year.
Tarrant arrived in Sofia on a flight from Dubai, rented a car and toured cities connected with Bulgarian history, Tsatsarov said. He added that the New Zealand attack suspect had a very good knowledge of the region's history.
Tsatsarov also told journalists that after leaving Bulgaria, Tarrant went to Romania, traveling from there to Hungary by car.
In a chapter of Tarrant's hate-filled manifesto he called for the assassination of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, declaring "he must bleed his last".
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)