Smiling mosque massacre shooter makes a white supremacist sign with his hand as he is charged with murder after 49 people

Accused Christchurch massacre gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant smiled as he made a white power gesture in the dock as he was charged with murder.

Tarrant, 28, originally from Grafton, New South Wales but more recently a resident of Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island, had his hands chained to his waist as he wore white prison overalls. 

Police allege that after opening fire inside the Al Noor Mosque Tarrant drove to the Linwood Masjid Mosque across town and continued his rampage.

Daniel John Burrough, 18, has also been charged with ‘exciting hostility or ill-will’ in relation to the mosque attacks but he did not appear in court. 

Police arrested three men – including Tarrant and Burrough – and a woman following Friday’s attack.

The unnamed woman remains in custody, while the third man who was arrested is not linked with the attacks and has been released. 

A member of the public tried to storm the court to ‘knife’ the attacker before proceedings began, as citizens were barred from attending. 

So far 49 people have been confirmed dead – including at least one child – while dozens more remain missing. 

The short stocky man stood squarely in place beside two officers throughout the hearing.

He turned around to repeatedly glance at the media, at District Court Judge Paul Kaller and out the windows of the Christchurch District Court.

At the beginning of the hearing he appeared to have a faint smile on his face, but it faded into a neutral expression as the hearing continued.

Security was tight, with about six security guards and police in total, the guards wearing black protective vests.

No members of the public were allowed to attend except for media ‘in the interest of public safety’, the judge said.

Tarrant was remanded in custody. His duty lawyer did not apply for bail. Nor did he apply for suppression on information of the proceedings.

The hearing was all over in just a few minutes, with Tarrant taking one final look at those gathered and marched away. Some victims’ relatives were waiting at the front doors to the court.

He has been charged with one count of murder but police say many more charges are expected to be laid when he reappears in the High Court on April 5. 

Tarrant was photographed and filmed in court by New Zealand cameras but they have been ordered to pixellate his face in images from inside court. 

Burrough has also been charged with intent to excite hostility or ill will against any group of persons in New Zealand and publishing written matter which is insulting, court documents said. 

Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed the death toll stands at 49, with 42 injured.

He said that after receiving the initial emergency call at 1.42pm local time, police took 36 minutes to track down and detain Tarrant.

‘That is an incredibly fast response time. You had a mobile offender across large metropolitan city. I am very happy with the response of our staff,’ Bush said.

Police arrested three men – including Tarrant and Burrough – and a woman following Friday’s attacks.

Commissioner Bush said that the third man was spotted carrying a gun by a police officer, but after questioning it was revealed the man was on his way to collect his children from school and took the weapon to protect himself.

‘In terms of people who have been charged, we have – as you know, we apprehended four people on the day,’ Mr Bush said. 

‘One was released quite early – a member of the public who just wanted to get their kids home, but decided to take a firearm.’ 

A surgeon from Christchurch Hospital described Friday’s events as ‘carnage’.

Families were crowded around the entrance to the hospital through Friday night, unsure if their loved ones were alive.

Police confirmed all bodies were recovered from the mosques by the end of the night, with a dozen operating theatres in use to save the lives of survivors.

Makeshift candlelit vigils were underway in Christchurch on Saturday night, with a remembrance ceremony planned for Monday.

Cards, flowers and messages of condolence were moved when the police cordon was lifted at 5.00pm local time.

Those who had gathered to show their respect lifted as much as they could carry to move it closer to the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Masjid Mosque where 49 people lost their lives on Friday.

Prosecutors in Bulgaria have launched a probe into Tarrant’s recent visit to the country. 

He visited Bulgaria from November 9-15 last year claiming he wanted ‘to visit historical sites and study the history of the Balkan country’, according to Bulgaria’s public prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov. 

Tsatsarov said he hoped the inquiry would establish if this was ‘correct or if he had other objectives’.

One woman who knew Tarrant before he left Grafton said he worked as a personal trainer who was obsessed with fitness but seemed like a well-adjusted young man. 

In a twisted manifesto that he posted online before the massacre, Tarrant described himself as an ‘ordinary, white man’, who was born into a working class, low income family of Scottish, Irish and English decent.

The gunman wrote that he had ‘little interest in education’ growing up, and did not attend university as he had no great interest in anything offered at the schools.

He claimed he made some money investing in Bitconnect – a type of digital currency – before he then used the money to travel overseas. 

Tarrant, who would later go on to become a personal trainer, inherited a love of physical fitness from his father, who reportedly died of an asbestos-related illness. 

A woman who claims to have previously known Tarrant through the gym, alleged it was him in the live stream.

She told Daily Mail Australia that he followed a strict dietary and exercise regime and worked at the gym after he finished school. 

The woman, who did not wish to be named, said Tarrant always ‘threw himself into his own personal training’ before he later became a qualified a trainer and started training others.