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Suspect charged with murder in New Zealand mosque attack appears in court: police

A suspect appeared in court and has been charged with murder in relation to two mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday that left 49 people dead and 42 injured.

What we know about the suspects in New Zealand terror attacks

The 28-year-old suspect appeared in court Saturday morning local time, New Zealand police confirmed on Twitter.

The suspect has been identified as Brenton Harrison Tarrant, The Guardian and New Zealand Herald have confirmed. It is the same name used in a live broadcast of the shootings that was posted to social media.

Police also said on Twitter that the suspect will face further charges.

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“Details of those charges will be communicated at the earliest possible opportunity,” they said.

Two others were taken into custody earlier.

The suspect is an Australian national who was not on any watch lists in New Zealand or Australia, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Saturday local time, and didn’t have criminal records there.

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“This individual has travelled around the world with sporadic periods of times spent in New Zealand,” Ardern said during news conference in Wellington early Saturday morning local time. “This individual was not on the radar of Australian intelligence agencies or New Zealand agencies.

Arden said the suspect obtained his gun licence in November 2017 and began to purchase weapons in December 2017.

Five guns were used by the shooter, which included two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns, and a lever action firearm was also found, Arden said.

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The suspect, who has proclaimed himself a white nationalist, released a 74-page manifesto on social media that contained conspiracy theories about “white genocide” and references a conflict between people of European descent and Muslims.

He describes himself as “working-class, low-income family” and had a “regular childhood.”

New Zealand police said on Twitter there is a heightened police presence around the country, including at mosques and community events. The district court in Christchurch had strict security as well.

They also said work is continuing on Saturday to “build a complete picture of the tragic events in Christchurch yesterday.”

-With files from Andrew Russell

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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