New Zealand Rifle Club 'Shocked' As Former Member Faces Murder Charge Over Mosque Attack

(@FahadShabbir)

New Zealand Rifle Club 'Shocked' as Former Member Faces Murder Charge Over Mosque Attack

The vice-president of New Zealand's Bruce Rifle Club, where Australian national Brenton Harrison Tarrant, charged with murder in wake of recent fatal shootings in two mosques, used to train, said that he was "shocked" and could never imagine Tarrant, who looked like a "regular guy," was able to do "such a terrible thing

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 16th March, 2019) The vice-president of New Zealand's Bruce Rifle Club, where Australian national Brenton Harrison Tarrant, charged with murder in wake of recent fatal shootings in two mosques, used to train, said that he was "shocked" and could never imagine Tarrant, who looked like a "regular guy," was able to do "such a terrible thing."

The violent shooting in two mosques in the eastern New Zealand's city of Christchurch, described by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as a terrorist attack, claimed lives of 49 people and left dozens injured on Friday. Tarrant, aged 28, appeared in court early on Saturday, and the court ruled that he should remain in custody until April 5.

"I ran into him [Tarrant] three or four times and he seemed fine, nothing out of the ordinary. Who would have thought? I am just shocked, stunned, dismayed. Just can't imagine he could do such a terrible thing," Scott Williams, the vice-president of the club, told New Zealand's Newsroom website.

According to the website, Tarrant joined the Bruce Rifle Club, located in the region of Otago, to the south of Dunedin, where he resided, in early 2018.

He reportedly mentioned his training in the manifesto, which he posted online ahead of the attacks in order to describe his intentions.

Tarrant followed all the rules, and his handling of the firearms was good, the outlet added.

Williamson also said that Tarrant used to look like a "regular guy".

"We scrutinize our members obviously, but in relation to the basic rules of the arms code and how they handle firearms and follow the rules. We do not scrutinize them to assess if they are white supremacist nationalists because as far as we knew, we didn't have those types in NZ [New Zealand]," Williamson added.

In his manifesto, Tarrant explained the motives for the attack with his anti-Muslim and anti-migrant views, also expressing admiration for Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik.

Williams specified that Tarrant had used an AR-15 lightweight semiautomatic rifle while training in the club.

Ardern pledged to change New Zealand's firearms regulations following the massacre, which dozens of global leaders have condemned.

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