New Zealand PM's office received shooter's 'manifesto' minutes before attack

Published: Mar. 16, 2019 at 3:32 PM CDT
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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's office received an email with the manifesto from the suspect behind the mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques, minutes before the attack began.

Ardern's chief press secretary Andrew Campbell told CNN that the email in a "generic" email account maintained by staff, and was not seen by the Prime Minister.

Authorities have declined to discuss potential motives for the attack that killed 49 people and injured dozens more. But the 87-page document, also posted on social media just before the shooting began, was filled with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim screeds.

Brenton Harris Tarrant, 28, appeared in court Saturday charged with one count of murder. New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said more charges would be laid.

Tarrant was handcuffed and wearing a white prison jumpsuit when he walked into the courtroom. He remained silent throughout the appearance, but made a hand gesture associated with white supremacists. The courtroom was closed to the public because of the heightened security risk.

The suspect was remanded in custody and will reappear in court April 5. Two others remain in custody in connection with the shooting, but their role remains unclear. A fourth person detained in the aftermath of the attack was later determined to be an armed bystander who wanted to help police.

Ardern visited members of the Muslim community at a refugee center in Christchurch Saturday, where she paid tribute to victims of Friday's shooting and conveyed a message of support.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets with Muslim community representatives in Christchurch.

Earlier, she gave more details about the attack. Two lightly armed community police officers brought the atrocity to an end after a terrifying 36 minutes, she said, apparently running the gunman's car to the side of the road.

The gunman intended to continue his attack if he hadn't been stopped, she said. "There were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in and it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack," Ardern told reporters.