New Zealand Shooting Suspect Makes First Court Appearance

The primary suspect in the New Zealand mosque shootings appeared in court, and is scheduled to return to court in April.
Posted at 10:51 AM, Mar 16, 2019

The primary suspect behind the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand appeared in court Saturday morning.

Brenton Tarrant was charged with murder and is set to make another court appearance in early April. He didn't enter a plea, but made a white supremacist hand gesture, according to CNN. He's one of three people in police custody following the attacks.

The two attacks killed at least 49 people and wounded dozens more. The suspect reportedly sent a white nationalist manifesto to the Prime Minister, lawmakers and media moments before the shooting began.

As Newsy previously reported, New Zealand's firearms regulations are relatively lax compared to other countries. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed to take action by changing the country's gun laws. 

She said, "Undoubtedly, New Zealanders will question how someone could have come to have been in possession of weapons of this nature. One of the issues we are facing is that the guns that were used in this case appear to have been modified. That is a challenge that police have been facing, and that's a challenge that we will look to address in changing our laws."

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.