Christchurch gun shop sold rifles online to accused shooter – USA TODAY
Workers were seen on Sunday preparing the graves for the eventual burial of the victims of the terrorist attacks in Christchurch.The death toll from Friday’s massacres at two mosques rose to 50. (March 17)
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand â A Christchurch gun shop on Monday acknowledged selling guns online to the 28-year-old white supremacist accused of killing 50 people in mosque shootings that have upturned New Zealandâs reputation as among the worldâs most tolerant and safe nations.
At a news conference, Gun City owner David Tipple said the store sold four guns and ammunition to Brenton Harrison Tarrant through a âpolice-verified online mail order process.â
He said none of the weapons were military style semi-automatic weapons. Calling for gun laws to be tightened, New Zealandâs prime minister Jacinda Ardern has said the attacker used five guns, two of them semi-automatic, which were purchased with an ordinary gun license and modified.
âWe detected nothing extraordinary about this license holder,â Tipple said, referring to the shooter. Tipple said he and staff are âdismayed and disgustedâ by Fridayâs shootings.
His store has been criticized for leaving out a roadside advertising billboard that shows a parent helping children with rifle target practice in the wake of the shootings.
Three days after the attack, New Zealandâs deadliest shooting in modern history, relatives were anxiously waiting for word on when they can bury their loved ones. Islamic tradition calls for bodies to be cleansed and buried as soon as possible after death, usually within 24 hours.
Aya Al-Umari, whose older brother Hussien Al-Umari died at the Al Noor mosque, wept as she talked about a kind man, a quintessential big brother who delighted in teasing his little sister.
On Monday, the family was still waiting for the release of Husseinâs body. They have tried to be patient, and understand that police have a job to do, but they are growing weary of the lack of information.
âItâs very unsettling not knowing whatâs going on, if you just let me know â is he still in the mosque? Is he in a fridge? Where is he?â Aya said. âI understand the police need to do their job because itâs a crime scene, but you need to communicate with the families.â
Members of the Muslim community and police were Monday morning at a cemetery which has been fenced off and obscured with white netting. Backhoes had stopped digging and police officers said they were setting up a media area inside the cemetery.
Ardern has said authorities hoped to release all the bodies by Wednesday, and Police Commissioner Mike Bush said authorities were working with pathologists and coroners to complete the task as soon as they could.
Tarrant, an Australian citizen who lived in New Zealand, appeared in court on Saturday amid strict security, shackled and wearing all-white prison garb.
He showed no emotion when the judge read one murder charge and said more charges would likely follow. The New Zealand Herald reported Monday that he had dismissed his appointed lawyer and plans to defend himself.
Thousands of people struggling to make sense of the tragedy have paid tribute to the victims at makeshift memorials in Christchurch, a leafy city of 400,000 people known for its English heritage and the river that meanders through it.
Hundreds of flowers were piled up amid candles, balloons and notes of grief and love outside the Al Noor mosque and the cityâs botanic gardens.
âWe are a nation who will never accept acts like this!!!,â said a poster-sized message decorated with hearts attached to the iron fence of the botanic gardens. âWe stand with the Muslim community. We will always fight for the safety of our community. We will always stand as one.â
Some people sang tributes and others prayed as camera crews from around the world filmed the moving scenes.
âWe are supposed to be a safe place to go about your business and regardless of what your faith is no one shouldâve had to go through what we went through on Friday,â said city resident Russell Falcome-Price.
Also Monday,Â Australian police raided two homes in New South Wales state as part of the investigation into the New Zealand shootings.
Police said in a statement the raids occurred in the towns of Sandy Beach and Lawrence early on Monday.
The statement says: âThe primary aim of the activity is to formally obtain material that may assist New Zealand Police in their ongoing investigation.â
Tarrant grew up to the north of the raided towns in Grafton.