The accused Christchurch mosque attacker was obsessed with playing video games, the suspect’s grandmother has revealed.
Brenton Tarrant, who has been charged with murder in relation to the horrific massacre of at least 50 people at two New Zealand mosques on March 15, is believed to have live-streamed a 17-minute video as he was allegedly shooting the mosque-goers.
Grandmother Marie Fitzgerald, 81, told Australia’s 9News that when Tarrant attended Grafton High School in New South Wales (NSW), he seemed more interested in playing computer games than dating girls.
“He spent most of his time playing games on computers,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t think girlfriends were on the agenda … getting married was too hard.”
— Nine News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) March 17, 2019
After his father died from cancer in 2010, Tarrant traveled to Europe. He was never the same after coming back, Fitzgerald told 9News.
There was a surge in Islamic extremist attacks while Tarrant was abroad.
“It’s only since he traveled overseas. I think that this boy has changed completely to the boy we knew,” she said.
Nine News has spoken exclusively to Brenton Tarrant's shattered family who have condemned his attack, and apologised for his "un-repairable" actions.
由 9 News Perth 发布于 2019年3月17日周日
Tarrant, 28, who is originally from Grafton, Australia, didn’t apply for bail when he appeared before the court on March 16 to face his murder charge. He is expected to face further charges when he next appears in court on April 5.
Tarrant had no criminal history and wasn’t on watch lists in Australia nor New Zealand, even though his online profiles have since been linked to extremist material.
Before the attack, Tarrant allegedly posted a 74-page manifesto on the internet, entitled “The Great Replacement,” which said the attacks were to avenge “thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders.” Police believe the document contains evidence that Tarrant had planned to carry out the deadly shootings.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called the shooting an act of terrorism, and the worst-ever peacetime mass killing in the nation’s history. New Zealand’s national security threat level has been revised to high. Ardern promised that affected individuals and their families will receive financial compensation for months and even years in the wake of the bloodshed.
Counterterrorism police in Australia raided two homes near Coffs Harbour and Grafton on March 18 in connection with the attacks.
One property at Sandy Beach, 24 kilometers (15 miles) north of Coffs Harbour in New South Wales, where Tarrant’s mother and sister reportedly lived was raided around 8:30 a.m. local time. At the time of the raid, they were already safe with police in protective custody. They have cooperated with authorities and there is no suggestion they have done anything wrong.
Shortly after, police separately searched a house in Lawrence 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of Grafton that is understood to belong to the mother’s boyfriend as they sought to formally obtain evidence that may help New Zealand Police in their investigation.
— Rob Morrison (@RMorrison9) March 17, 2019
“The community can be assured that there is no information to suggest a current or impending threat related to this search warrants,” the Australian Federal Police and New South Wales Police said in a joint statement.
The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team has executed search warrants on the NSW mid-north coast in support of the @nzpolice investigation into Friday’s terrorist attack in #Christchurch https://t.co/SGTG1tpbpQ
— AFP (@AusFedPolice) March 17, 2019
The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) comprises the Australian Federal Police, NSW Police Force, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and the NSW Crime Commission staff.
Today, all across Australia, Mosques have had open days, vigils have been held, and the community has come together as one. In Brisbane, AFP officers attended the Islamic College of Brisbane prayer service to honour the loved ones lost in the NZ terrorist attack. #standtogether pic.twitter.com/I1JwWBLQSK
— Andrew Colvin (@AFPCommissioner) March 17, 2019
Police allege that Tarrant had been planning the attacks for two years while living in New Zealand.
He returned to Grafton a year ago for his sister’s birthday. Fitzgerald said there had been no signs he would carry out the attack.
“He was just his normal self, you know,” she said. “We all chatted and had a meal together to celebrate that occasion and now everyone is devastated.”
She said the family could not believe Tarrant was involved in the attack even after the news began to spread on television.
“First up I thought it could not be then I saw his photo … it’s just not right … it’s unrepairable,” Tarrant’s uncle, Terry Fitzgerald, said.
Police urged anyone with information to contact the National Security Hotline by calling 1800 123 400.
“NSW JCTT is unable to provide further detail regarding this matter,” police said.