Brenton Tarrant, one of the men accused of orchestrating and carrying out a terrorist attack in New Zealand on Friday, released a manifesto online prior to the attack which gives some insight into his motivation. On page seven of the document, which was shared on DocumentCloud, Tarrant cites Ebba Akerlund, an 11-year-old girl who died during a terror attack in Stockholm, as the spark that triggered his ideological turning point.
Akerlund was killed in 2017 after a hijacked beer truck crashed into a popular store on a street that was filled with pedestrians. As BBC News reports, Rakhmat Akilov, a native of Uzbekistan whose application for asylum was previously rejected, has been jailed for life for the crime.
In his manifesto, Tarrant writes that he was touring Europe around the time of the Stockholm terror attack. He says that he had previously viewed these types of events with “jaded cynicism.” But this one was different because of Akerlund.
“Young, innocent and dead Ebba,” Tarrant wrote. “Ebba was walking to meet her mother after school, when she was murdered by an Islamic attacker, driving a stolen vehicle through the shopping promenade on which she was walking.”
He then adds that she was partially deaf, which meant that it would have been difficult for her to hear the truck as it barreled towards her.
The New Zealand attack was allegedly carried out by a white supremacist. Other attacks on worshippers by white supremacists in last few years:— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 15, 2019
• 12 Jews at Pittsburgh synagogue, 2018
• 6 Muslims in Quebec City mosque, 2017
• 9 Black Christians in South Carolina church, 2015 pic.twitter.com/BLFyU4KRA5
The Daily Beast reports that the girl’s father, Stefan Akerlund, has expressed horror at the fact that his daughter’s name was used to justify a terrorist attack.
“I broke into a cold sweat as soon as I saw that he had rifles with my daughter’s name,” he said to Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet, as reported by The Daily Beast. “How in hell can we ever get to mourn in peace?”
According to ABC (Australia), Brenton Tarrant, who is Australian, worked as a personal trainer in New Zealand before he left to travel across Europe and Asia.
Tracey Gray, the manager at the gym where he worked, described him as “dedicated” and said that he had been involved in programs that helped kids in their community.
“I think something must have changed in him during the years he spent traveling overseas,” she said.
9 News Australia reports that 49 people were killed in the attack that’s now being called the Christchurch Massacre. Two mosques were targeted and part of the incident was live streamed. As The Inquisitr previously reported, a shooter mentioned the YouTube superstar PewDiePie before the attack began.
Tarrant has since been arrested along with three other people.