Who is Brenton Tarrant? Brenton Harrison Tarrant was born in Australia and attended Grafton High School in New South Wales where he obtained qualifications in fitness. He described himself online as “just a ordinary white man, 28 years old. Born in Australia to a working class, low-income family”. Tarrant also said he barely made it through school and didn’t go to university as nothing interested him.
The Australian man charged with murder in connection with terrorist shootings at two New Zealand mosques that left dozens dead spent little time in Australia in the past years and only had minor traffic infractions on his record, authorities said. He had worked as a personal trainer at the Big River Gym in Grafton, a small city 500 kilometres northwest of Sydney.
“The origins of my language is European, my culture is European, my political beliefs are European, my philosophical beliefs are European, my identity is European and, most importantly, my blood is European,” wrote Tarrant in a 74-page so-called manifesto posted online prior to the attacks.
Brenton Harrison Tarrant Full Biography and Profile
Brenton Harrison Tarrant was a frequent traveler who spent time in Pakistan, Turkey and Bulgaria, among other countries in recent years. After his father died in 2011, Tarrant used his inheritance to travel internationally, including to France where he claimed to have seen an “invasion” of immigrants.
Brenton Tarrant charged with murder in connection with terrorist shootings at two New Zealand mosques that left dozens dead. Fifty people were killed and 50 others were wounded in the attack, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush announced.
In connection with the shootings, Brenton Harrison Tarrant was charged with one count of murder in a Christchurch court. Tarrant was remanded in custody to reappear in court on April 5, with officials saying he would face more charges.
Shortly before the shooting began, an 87-page manifesto was posted on social media under the name of Brenton Tarrant. The document was riddled with sarcasm, apparent red herrings and allusions to online meme culture, suggesting an internet-driven evolution of nationalist hatred.
To residents of his former hometown, Tarrant seemed a “relatively normal” person.
Tarrant, described by Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison as an “extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist”, expressed admiration for other violent white nationalists and his intention to “create an atmosphere of fear” and to “incite violence” against Muslims.
By all accounts, his life was unremarkable, leaving school to become a fitness instructor at a local gym. He had “no interest” in education or anything that university had to offer. He used to work at the Big River Squash & Fitness Centre in the northern New South Wales town of Grafton.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a media conference that Brenton Tarrant was not on a “terrorist” watch list.
“This individual was not on any watch list for either New Zealand or Australia,” she said. “What I’ve sought from [security] agencies is further work to ascertain whether or not he should have been.”
Tracey Gray, the owner of Big River Gym in Grafton, New South Wales, said Brenton Tarrant worked at the gym about five or six years ago.
“He started coming to my facility as a boy that was finishing school and showed a lot of dedication to his own training. Then he went and did his personal training qualifications.”
Gray wondered whether Brenton Tarrant might have been radicalized during a trip to Europe and Asia in the early 2010s.
“I can’t believe that somebody I’ve probably had daily dealings with … would be capable of something to this extreme,” Gray added.
Brenton Tarrant had traveled to Turkey multiple times and “spent an extended period of time in the country,” a senior Turkish official said.
He also traveled to Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, Bulgarian prosecutor general Sotir Tsatsarov told journalists, according to state news agency BTA. In 2016, Tarrant visited Montenegro and Serbia, Tsatsarov said.
Brenton Tarrant is also believed to have spent time in northern Pakistan. The owner of the Osho Thang Hotel in Nagar, in Pakistan’s northernmost Gilgit-Baltistan region, said Tarrant had visited his hotel in October 2018. The hotel owner, who did not want to be named for security reasons, described Tarrant as a “regular tourist.”
“All I remember was that he was a fan of local food. He would leave the hotel in the morning and would come back in the evenings,” he said.
Tarrant’s father, Rodney Tarrant, died of cancer at age 49 in April 2010, according to an obituary The Daily Examiner in Grafton. He was described as a “dedicated family man” and “competitive athlete.” According to the obituary, Tarrant’s father separated from his mother when he was young.
During the years that he was away, his mother, an English teacher, wrote online about how much she missed her “incredible son” although she said she “understood his wanderlust”.
She wrote fondly of her “Brento” and appeared blissfully unaware of how his world had turned.
Tarrant’s family is currently “assisting and cooperating” with investigations from Grafton, nearly 400 miles north of Sydney, local police said.
The acting mayor of Clarence Valley in Australia, Jason Kingsley, said Tarrant’s alleged actions did not reflect Grafton or Australia. Kingsley called for unification in the wake of a “very dark day,” and consideration for the family and friends of “the individual.”
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said Brenton Tarrant targeted New Zealand for its reputation for being a safe space.
“This sort of extremism is not something that we’ve seen here. But he is not from here,” she said. “He came here with hate in his heart and intention to kill in his mind. So he did not develop his hatred here. He came here to perform this act of terrorism.”
Tarrant used five guns, including two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns — weapons that were legally acquired, Ardern said.
The Prime Minister said the shooter had a “Category A” firearm license, obtained in November 2017. According to police, a standard firearms license allows the holder to obtain any number of sporting rifles and shotguns.
Authorities said that at least one of the guns used in the shootings appeared to have been modified.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed to amend the country’s gun laws — considered relatively relaxed compared to most western nations outside of the United States — in response to the attack.
Professor Greg Barton, chair of global Islamic politics at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Globalisation & Citizenship, characterised Tarrant as having an “unhealthy narcissism” common among “terrorists”.
“I think he was drawn by this dark fantasy of going zero to hero, like an Anders Behring Breivik, like the Quebec City mosque shooting of January 2017,” said Barton.
“It had to be imported from Australia,” he added, referring to the Islamophobic ideology that motivated the attack, “coinciding with that access to assault weapons”.
- Brenton Harrison Tarrant Biography and Profile