Mosque Killing Suspect Makes Hand Gesture in Court

Brenton Tarrant is believed to have made a white power signal
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2019 11:10 AM CDT
Mosque Killing Suspect: Trump Is a 'Symbol'
This image taken from CCTV video obtained by the state-run Turkish broadcaster TRT World shows the arrival of who it says is Brenton Tarrant, the suspect in the New Zealand mosque attacks, in Istanbul's Ataturk International airport in Turkey on March 2016.   (TRT World via AP)

The hand symbol may say it all. The alleged killer of least 49 people at two New Zealand mosques smirked in court Saturday and made a symbol—an "OK" gesture with the thumb and index fingers forming a circle—that many are taking as a white power sign, Sky News reports. That would echo an online treatise that authorities attribute to 28-year-old suspect Brenton Tarrant. "Were/are you a supporter of Donald Trump?" the manifesto's author writes, per NBC News. "As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no." The author also predicts that the battle over gun control "will ultimately result in a civil war that will eventually balkanize the US along political, cultural and, most importantly, racial lines." For more:

  • Wanted more: The suspect would have continued killing if community police officers hadn't run his vehicle off the road, CNN reports. "There were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in and it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack," says New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.

  • Gun laws: Ardern is also ready to change her country's gun laws, per NBC News. "While work is being done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun license and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now: Our gun laws will change," she says.
  • Travel: An Australian personal trainer, Tarrant came into money after his father's 2010 death and traveled to places including China, North Korea, India, Pakistan, and Europe, Fox News reports. "I think something must have changed in him during the years he spent travelling overseas," gym manager Tracey Gray tells ABC News Australia.
  • Historic battles: He also visited the Balkans from 2016 to 2018 and looked at historic sites, apparently to learn more about battles between the Ottoman Empire and Christians, the AP reports.
  • His grandmother: "It's all very shocking, especially [it being] Brenton, he's a good boy," Tarrant's grandmother Joyce tells the Daily Mail. The suspect's mother and sister have apparently gone into hiding.
  • Another attack: Hours after the attacks, a group of men shouting Islamophobic slurs drove by a London mosque—and one jumped out and attacked a worshiper with a hammer, Al Jazeera reports. No arrests have been made.
  • An egging: Australian senator Fraser Anning, who blamed Muslim immigration for the attacks, punched a 17-year-old boy after being egged in Melbourne, the Guardian reports. Anning supporters tackled the boy and held him in a chokehold.
  • Tears 'for all of us': Actor-artist Jim Carrey is among those sharing their grief online over the mass shootings, the Huffington Post reports. "My heart is with you New Zealand, my tears are for all of us," he writes with a painting of himself crying.
  • Online fascism: Pro Publica dives into the murky online world where white supremacists express fascist, anti-immigrant, and anti-Semitic views. Stamping them out isn't so easy: "There are certain white supremacist channels that have been running for upwards of 10 years on YouTube," a researcher says.
(More New Zealand mosque shootings stories.)

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