From a curly-haired toddler who shared his father’s love of fitness, to New Zealand’s worst mass murderer, the life of Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been revealed.
Tarrant, who live-streamed himself shooting inside Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on Friday, grew up in Grafton in New South Wales’ Northern River region.
In a chilling 73-page manifesto called ‘The Great Replacement,’ which he penned prior to the killings, the 28-year-old gave insight into his upbringing and background.
In his own words, Tarrant described himself as an ‘ordinary, white man’, who was born into a working class, low income family of Scottish, Irish and English decent.
Brenton Tarrant (pictured as a child) grew up in Grafton in New South Wales’ Northern River region
Tarrant grew up in a picture-perfect house (pictrued) in Grafton in New South Wales’ Northern River region
His father, Rodney, who was a competitive athlete, died of cancer in 2010 aged just 49 and his mother and sister are rumoured to still live in the area.
While it remains unclear whether any of his relatives – including his mother – still live in the area, the family is very well known in the region, ABC News reported.
The 28-year-old wrote that he had ‘little interest in education’ growing up, and did not attend university as he had no great interest in anything offered at the schools.
He claimed he made some money investing in Bitconnect – a type of digital currency – before he then used the money to travel overseas.
Tarrant, who would later go on to become a personal trainer, inherited a love of physical fitness from his father, who reportedly died of an asbestos-related illness.
A woman who claims to have previously known Tarrant through the gym, confirmed it was him in the live stream.
Gym manager Tracey Gray said he followed a strict dietary and exercise regime and worked at the gym after he finished school in 2009 and 2001, ABC News reported.
Ms Gray said Tarrant always ‘threw himself into his own personal training’ before he later became a qualified a trainer and started training others.
He was very dedicated to his own training and to training others, she said.
In his manifesto, Tarrant (pictured) described himself as an ‘ordinary, white man’, who was born into a working class, low income family of Scottish, Irish and English decent
A man who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant (pictured) live-streamed the massacre of dozens of people in Christchurch, New Zealand
She said while he was very dedicated, he was more dedicated than most people would be.
‘He was in the gym for long periods of time, lifting heaving weights. He pretty much transformed his body,’ she said.
The woman also said she had not spoken to him or heard him talk about his political or religious beliefs.
‘From the conversations we had about life he didn’t strike me as someone who had any interest in that or extremist views,’ she said.
‘But I know he’s been travelling since he left Grafton. He has been travelling overseas, anywhere and everywhere.
Three shootings have taken place in Christchurch on Friday afternoon, two at mosques and another at Christchurch Hospital
Tarrant live-streamed the mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque, which happened at 1.30pm as Friday prayers were underway
‘I would say it’s something in the nature of his travels, something he’s been around.
‘I know he’s been to lots of different countries trying to experience lots of different things in life and I would say something’s happened in that time in his travels,’ she said.
Tarrant is believed to have travelled to Europe, South-East Asia and east Asia.
In a previous Facebook message about a trip to Pakistan on Facebook, he wrote: ‘an incredible place filled with the most earnest, kind hearted and hospitable people in the world,’ The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
‘The beauty of hunza and nagar valley in autumn cannot be beat,’ he stated.
Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots and police are responding to the incident at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country’s South Island. Pictured is a still from a live-stream of the shooting
In his manifesto, Tarrant stated he first planned the attack ‘roughly two years in advance’ but chose the final locations three months ago, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
He said he initially planned to target a mosque in Dunedin, but changed to the Al Noor and Masjid Mosques because they had ‘far more invaders’.
He wrote about how after attacking those two mosques he planned to drive to a mosque in Ashburton, an hour south of Chirstchurch.
‘I am unsure as of this time of writing whether I will reach that target, it is a bonus objective,’ he wrote.
Forty-eight people are believed to have suffered gunshot wounds during the attack, with hundreds of family members currently on site at Christchurch hospital.
TIMELINE OF TERROR
A 28-year-old Australian man entered a mosque in central Christchurch on Friday afternoon and opened fire on people gathered inside the building – killing at least 49 people and leaving more than 20 seriously injured.
This is how the incident unfolded in local New Zealand Time.
1.40pm: First reports of a shooting at a mosque in central Christchurch.
A man entered the mosque with an automatic weapon and opened fire on people inside.
2.11pm: Police confirmed they were attending an ‘evolving situation’ in Christchruch.
Gunshots are heard in the area outside Masid Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue.
Witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots, with one saying she attempted to give CPR to an injured person but they died.
2.17pm: Multiple schools went into lockdown in Christchurch.
People who were in the mosque began to leave covered in blood and with gunshot wounds.
2.47pm: First reports of six people dead, three in a critical condition and three with serious injuries.
2.54pm: Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the situation is ‘serious and evolving’ and told people to remain indoors and stay off the streets.
The Canterbury District Health Board activated its mass casualty plan.
3.12pm: New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern cancelled her afternoon arrangements.
3.21pm: Christchurch City Council locked down many of their central city buildings.
3.33pm: First reports of a bomb in a beige Subaru that crashed on Strickland Street, three kilometres from the shootings.
3.40pm: Police confirmed there were multiple simultaneous attacks on mosques in Christchurch.
3.45pm: Reports of multiple shots fired at the shootings, which are ongoing.
3.59pm: 300 people were reported to be inside the moque.
4.00pm: One person is confirmed to be in custody but there are warnings there may be others out there.
Police commissioner Mike Bush urges Muslims across New Zealand to stay away from their local mosque.
4.10pm: Jacinda Ardern calls Friday ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days’.
5.27pm: First reports of a second shooting.
A witness said a Muslim local chased the shooters at the mosque in Linwood, firing in ‘self defence’.
5.31pm: Four people are confirmed to be in custody. including one woman.
Multiple fatalities were reported.
7.07pm: It was confirmed an AR15 rifle was used in the attack.
7.20pm: Dunedin Street was cordoned off.
Reports the attackers planned to also target the Al Huda Mosque.
7.26pm: At least 40 people were confirmed dead, Jacinda Ardern confirmed.
7.34pm: Confirmed that 48 people were being treated in hospital.
7.46pm: Britomart train station in central Auckland was evacuated after bags were found unattended.
The bags were deemed not suspicious.
8.35pm: New Zealand’s Government confirmed this is the first time ever the terror level has been lifted from low to high.
9.03pm: Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirms that the death toll has risen to 49.
He also confirmed that a man in his late twenties was charged with murder.