An Australian man is alleged to be behind at least one of the fatal shootings at Christchurch mosques on Friday afternoon. Prior to the attack, Brenton Tarrant, 28, issued a 73-page manifesto online in which he took aim at immigration rates in “European lands” and called for revenge on “invaders that seek to enter our lands”.
The gunman has not yet been named by police, but Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed one of the men in custody is an Australian citizen. Starts at 60 has not been able to independently verify his identity.
In the manifesto, seen by Starts at 60, Tarrant described himself as an ordinary white man, born to a working class, low income family, who had a regular childhood “without any great issues”.
“I had little interest in education during my schooling, barely achieving a passing grade,” he wrote. “I did not attend University as I had no great interest in anything offered in the Universities to study. 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 alleged gunman said he carried out the attack to avenge “thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders”.
“To most of all show the invaders that our lands will never be their lands, our homelands 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 wrote.
“To take revenge on the invaders for the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders in European lands throughout history. To take revenge for the enslavement of millions of Europeans taken from their lands by the Islamic slavers.”
He continued: “To take revenge for the thousands of European lives lost to terror attacks throughout European lands. To directly reduce immigration rates to European lands by intimidating and physically removing the invaders themselves.”
He also revealed that he had been considering the attack since 2017, noting he decided on Christchurch three months ago. He said New Zealand was not the “original choice for attack”, but described it as “target rich of an environment as anywhere else in the West.”
Further down in the manifesto, the man said the attack was inspired by a trip he took to France in 2017.
“For many years I had been hearing and reading of the invasion of France by non-whites, many of these rumours and stories I believed to be exaggerations, created to push a political narrative,” he said.
“But once I arrived in France, I found the stories not only be true, but profoundly understated. In every french [sic] city, in every french [sic] town the invaders were there.”
He said he feels no remorse for the attack, adding: “I only wish I could have killed more invaders, and more traitors as well.”
The gunman live streamed the shooting to social media, sharing the harrowing footage to Facebook.
The footage showed the man driving to the mosque and parking next to the building. He then went to the back of his car where a number of semiautomatic weapons covered in writing could be seen in the boot. He walked towards the front door of the mosque and raised his weapon and fired his first shot at someone in the doorway.
The confronting video showed the man walking calmly through the mosque and shooting anyone he saw. At one point he started shooting repeatedly at people lying motionless on the ground. After circling the rooms again he left the mosque and fired his weapon up and down Dean’s Avenue out the front of the mosque before getting back into his car and leaving the scene.
Police have confirmed that multiple people have been killed as a result of the attack, and at least two seperate mosques were targeted. Police commissioner Mike Bush has confirmed that four people are in custody — three men and one woman.
Bush did not confirm how many fatalities and injuries there were, but New Zealand Prime Minister earlier described the incident as one of the “darkest days” in the country’s history.