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Alleged Christchurch gunman's actions stun hometown

AP  |  Canberra 

Those who watched growing up in the sleepy Australian country town of say they had no of the potential evil he allegedly in merciless gunfire at two mosques that claimed at least 49 lives.

The chief suspect in New Zealand's worst mass shooting in modern history grew up in a modest house in suburban Grafton, a close-knit town of 20,000 on the in state.

Jennifer Huxley, an reporter, went through High School six years ahead of

"I've caught up with some of his classmates and they remember him as a bit of a class clown," Huxley said Saturday.

"But staff remember him as a bit of a disruptive student who was prone at times to being quite cruel to his classmates."

"But the teachers are struggling to come to terms with the fact that the pupil that they were involved with in has now been involved in what has happened in Christchurch," Huxley said.

After high school, became a at the Big River Squash and Fitness Center, where he had earlier trained and become obsessive about building up his strength.

"I am a goddam monster of willpower. I just need a goal or object to work toward," Tarrant posted on in 2011, a year after his father died.

struggles to accept that the diligent fitness trainer she employed is the man accused of a horrific hate crime in Christchurch.

"I can't ... believe that somebody I've probably had daily dealings with and had shared conversations and interacted with would be capable of something this extreme," Gray told television.

While working as a fitness center, Tarrant ran free athletic programs for children, The reported.

Gray said Tarrant had left Grafton by early 2012. He traveled the world, including what described as sporadic visits there. Police say he spent little time in during the past four years.

Tarrant wrote that he developed his racist views while traveling in in 2017.

A woman who works at a Grafton agency, who gave her name only as Brigid, told ABC that local residents were shocked by the events in Christchurch.

"It is very upsetting, actually," said. "I think pretty much everyone is in the same boat of being very upset about it. It's not something you would expect from someone from such a small community because everyone is well known.

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

First Published: Sat, March 16 2019. 16:45 IST