The Australian man suspected of killing dozens of worshippers at two Christchurch mosques has reportedly been sent an ominous warning from those who know New Zealand’s prison system.
Brenton Tarrant, 28, was charged with murder on Saturday, after 50 people were killed in a shooting attack on two mosques.
The former Grafton resident, who was remanded in custody without a plea, has now been warned by New Zealand bikie gang members that he will be a marked man in prison, the New Zealand Herald reports.
The gang members, who had gathered at Hagley High School to pay their respects, said the gunman’s actions were “wrong in every way possible”.
“Because they’ve come to New Zealand, they are part of us now. They are our people,” an unnamed man told the NZ Herald.
“That stuff that happened [on Friday], that was disgusting, there was no need for it. We’re a club, we do our things but, nah, that’s just wrong in every way possible.”
Another told the newspaper simply that “we’ve got friends inside too”.
It’s understood Tarrant will essentially be kept in solitary confinement, where no other prisoners would have easy access to him. Even the prison officers assigned to the 28-year-old may be carefully selected, criminal justice advocate Sir Kim Workman said.
Meanwhile counter-terrorism police have raided two homes on the NSW mid-north coast, including one that’s believed to belong to Brenton Tarrant’s sister
Officers from the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team searched a property in Sandy Beach, near Coffs Harbour, about 8.30am on Monday. Plain-clothed detectives entered the home, which has had its windows and doors covered in black plastic sheets, to try and find any evidence for New Zealand investigators.
Another raid was carried out at a second home a short time later in Lawrence, near Maclean. It’s understood Tarrant’s mother works in that region.
New Zealand PM targets gun reform laws
Tightening New Zealand’s gun laws is at the top of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s agenda as she meets with her cabinet on Monday for the first time since the mass shooting.
Ardern was the first signatory of a national condolence book that she opened in the capital Wellington on Monday following the Christchurch massacre.
“On behalf of all New Zealanders, we grieve together. We are one. They are us,” she wrote in the book.
The shock of the attacks has led to calls for an immediate tightening of laws to restrict access to some firearms, particularly semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15 rifle used by the shooter in Christchurch.
“What the public rightly are asking right now is why is it and how is it that you are currently able to buy military style semi-automatic weapons in New Zealand, and that’s the right question to ask,” Ardern told TVNZ earlier on Monday.
“There are ways we can bring in affective regulation of firearms that actually target those we need to target and that is our focus.”
New Zealand, a country of only 5 million people, has an estimated 1.5 million firearms.
A Radio New Zealand report said more than 99 percent of people who applied for a firearms licence in 2017 were successful.