Wednesday, June 19, 2019
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Brenton Tarrant has broadcast live his attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand

This frame from a video streamed live on Friday shows a shooter in a car in front of the shootings of the mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. (AP)

The recording came to life shortly after 1:30 pm. Friday to reveal the usual gray interior of a Subaru Outback. The cloudy skies of the late New Zealand summer broke through the windshield, leaving three rifles in the passenger seat pale.

When the camera was attached to the driver's helmet, all he could see was his legs under the wheel, in tactical protective clothing, and green, fingerless gloves flashing as he fumbled with his gear. An occasional glance at a beautiful, clean-shaven chin crossed the rearview mirror.

"All right," he said before putting the gear in gear. "Let's start this party."

It was only a short drive to downtown Christchurch, a historic city with an English flair on New Zealand's South Island. "Take the second left towards the city center," intoned the navigator attached to the windshield, and the man, later identified by the police as a 28-year-old Australian named Brenton Harrison Tarrant, set his turn signal. He drove carefully. At a red light he reached for a lightning bolt attached to the military rifle between his leg and the door.

A few blocks later, he pressed a button and a Serbian national song filled the car. He had made a mixed bond for a massacre.

The day before, he allegedly posted a 74-page manifesto obsessed with immigration and "white genocide." Minutes before the attack was posted on the website 8chan a link to the manifesto along with a deterrent promise to the live stream an "attack against the invaders".

Five minutes after the live Facebook video, the attacker turned into a driveway on Deans Avenue, turned around in a small parking lot, and finally positioned the Subaru at the end of the ride, pointing outward and ready for a quick exit ,

Methodically, he prepared his rifles and magazines, which were all covered with white lettering and symbols, including references to Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and the names of mass shooters.

Military drums played as he stepped out of the Subaru, lifting the rear hatch of the car and releasing two more graffiti-covered rifles and several red gas canisters. He picked another shotgun and walked to the sidewalk, leaving the hatch open and the car running.

The street was quiet; Only one elderly couple seemed to notice as he carried his weapons a few feet to the site of Christchurch's Al Noor Mosque, whose tall minaret stood over a square, whitewashed building. The attacker ignored the couple and entered a car park crowded with small cars. A man walking on the other side looked in his direction as he walked steadily toward the arched main entrance flanked by tall evergreen shrubs.

A picture from the video of the attack. (AFP / Getty Images)

Suddenly the center of the picture was filled, as it would be in the next six minutes, with the pointing barrel of the rifle. At the top of the stairs, right at the entrance, stood several figures. You heard someone say, "Hello, brother." The worshiper who was closest turned away from the camera only a few feet. The rifle point moved over the middle of his back.

At about 1:40, just before the regular Friday prayer in Al Noor, the shooter squeezed the trigger for the first time.

"We heard screams"

Al Noor is the most famous mosque in Christchurch and serves a local Muslim population of about 3,000 people. The golden dome is a landmark for cricketers and other visitors to the city's central city park opposite.

New Zealand's 50,000 Muslims make up only one percent of the population, but the country has welcomed more and more families that have been in need of help in recent years. On Friday, immigrants and refugees from Syria, Jordan, Pakistan and Bangladesh gathered.

When the shooting started, it was relentless. The first dull pop was followed by eight more in four seconds. The shooter never stopped and stepped through the entrance hall, which was already covered with corpses under the shoes of dozens of followers. What followed was a quiet, methodical attack, hundreds of rounds that would kill more than 40 people and hurt dozens more.

At first, some worshipers thought the sound of gunfire was simply one of the crackling speakers of the mosque.

"Then we heard screaming," Nour Tavis told the New Zealand Herald.

"Everyone panics," he said. "It was shot and shot and shot. , , , People were running and suddenly you saw them falling. "

The gunman fired almost constantly and did not hesitate to train his weapon on any person he encountered – the fleeing, the crouching, the injured. He turned to the small suite of interiors and returned repeatedly to the central prayer room, where dozens crowded into two corners.

Adeeb Sami, a 52-year-old engineer, had flown from Dubai to New Zealand the previous day to surprise his twin children on their 23rd birthday, Friday, his daughter told Gulf News. During the shooting, Sami reportedly threw his body over two of his sons, taking at least one bullet near his back but shielding them. All three would survive.

Many others were not so lucky. The father of a Syrian family who fled to New Zealand to flee the slaughter in their country was killed. Such was a 71-year-old refugee who had survived decades of war in his native Afghanistan.

Tavis, a Moroccan who moved to New Zealand 15 years ago, told the herald he had escaped by crawling through a broken window. Later, Tavis said, he went back into the mosque to help.

"There were people who bleed," he told the herald. "It was terrible."

When the shooter had no moving targets to shoot, he returned to those who were already below, shooting at them until the green-patterned floor was filled with a shell-and-gondo cover.

The shooter removed the clips more than once. Then he went back outside and stopped to lower some flying pedestrians, first to the right and then to the left. When he was back in his car, he grabbed a new gun and one of the gas cans and returned to the front of the mosque.

Up on the driveway, he repeatedly shot at someone who was not visible deep in the parking lot. The shooter was breathing heavily now, mumbling something that was hard to understand for his "boys."

He climbed the front steps, ran now with blood and went back for another 70 seconds. He killed some who had managed to avoid his first attack.

For the last time he left the front as two figures crawled through a gap in the wall. He beat the second, a woman who walked to the sidewalk right in front of his waiting car. Her cries for help grew louder as he approached, but fell silent as he shot again.

"I'm the God of Hellfire," was the lyrics of his soundtrack as he slammed the hatch, climbed into the vehicle, drove away, and turned left into Deans Avenue. Shortly after, he paused, programmed something into the navigator, then suddenly raised a rifle barrel beside the dangling pine air freshener and shot through the windshield at someone beyond the reach of the camera. For the next few minutes he paced the street hesitantly, once shooting at a car that was driving in front of him. He paused to fire one shotgun at another and smash his passenger window.

Soon he drove quickly, talking and wondering how many people were in the mosque, how crowded the parking lot had been.

"It was too fast. I should have stayed longer, "he said. "It was time for the fuel. , , , Burn down the burning mosque. He seemed calm.

"He shot empty"

About nine minutes after the first shot, the sound of a police siren entered the music for the first time. The video ended, but the carnage would continue.

The gunman moved toward a second, smaller mosque four miles away. The Linwood Mosque, a gray-framed building no larger than a ranch house, was packed with families on Friday, including many young children.

The police are looking for evidence near the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch. (Fiona Goodall / Getty Images)

When the police responded to calls from Al Noor, gunfire broke out on Linwood.

Inside, several dozen frightened worshipers tried to hide as the shooter entered the prayer room.

"There were old people sitting in chairs and praying," Syed Mazharuddin said the New Zealand Herald. "He started shooting at her."

Seven were killed in Linwood, causing the death toll on that day to drop to 49. That was a four-year-old boy and a twelve-year-old boy, according to grieving relatives around the world.

"He fired indiscriminately," Mazharuddin said. "There was a lady who" help! Help! 'And he shot blank in her face.'

A young man working as a janitor in the mosque stormed the shooter, Mazharuddin said.

"He saw an opportunity and lunged at him and took his weapon," he said.

The shooter allegedly fled to his car and left the scene as the cry of pain rose.

Shortly afterwards, the police said they had him. Following a chase, patrol cars forced a Subaru to the curb of a split Christchurch road. Officers dragged the driver apparently unharmed after a violent spasm that killed more people in one afternoon than New Zealand in a year.

At the end of the day, when the emergency rooms cared for the wounded and families mourned the dead, the police detained three people, including Tarrant, a former fitness instructor who moved to New Zealand two years ago.

The authorities said Tarrant had a weapons license and used five weapons in the attacks. At a first court hearing on Saturday, he did not file a lawsuit.

And a peaceful land had begun the long investigation of a brutally violent day.

Siobhan O'Grady contributed to this report.


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