Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian accused of a shooting rampage in Christchurch, New Zealand, has faced a judge today. Currently, the suspect is only charged with one count of murder. However, additional charges are expected to be added.
According to News.com.au, Tarrant appeared in Christchurch District Court shortly after 11 a.m., local time. He had been held overnight in police cells situated underneath the court following his arrest on Friday.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Tarrant is also believed to have live streamed his involvement in the shooting at the Al Noor mosque on Dean's Avenue. Combined with a separate, but likely linked attack on the Linwood mosque in Christchurch, the attacks have left 49 people dead and many more injured. It is reported that 41 people died at the Al Noor mosque.
A reporter for Channel Nine, Ruth Wynn-Williams, describes Tarrant's demeanor as "eerily calm" during the court appearance.
"He just looked like a calm, collected person," Wynn-Williams said. "It was almost nonchalant as he looked around the court."
It was also noted that the suspect "flashed a smirk" while in court.The judge presiding over the court hearing, Judge P. Kellar, kept the courtroom cleared of all people, with the exception of the media. It is believed that Tarrant repeatedly turned toward the media contingent, continuing to smile weakly at them, according to News.com.au.
"I've taken this decision to clear the court for reasons of public safety," he said.
It has been reported that one person tried to enter the courtroom during Tarrant's appearance. After threatening "to knife" the suspect, police detained this person.
While Tarrant was only charged with one count of murder during today's court appearance, the judge "assumes there will be others" in relation to further charges.
In New Zealand, a murder conviction carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
It has been reported that Tarrant, a personal trainer, had been living in New Zealand for three years prior to the alleged attack. During his court appearance, which only lasted for three minutes, Tarrant did not apply for bail. He will be remanded in custody until another court appearance set for April 5.
In addition to Tarrant, who is from Grafton, N.S.W., Australia, Daniel John Burrough, 18, of Christchurch, has also been charged with "intent to excite hostility or ill will against any group of persons in New Zealand on the ground of the color, race or ethnic or national origins, published written matter which is insulting."