New Zealand mosque shooting: Gunman compared himself to Nelson Mandela, claimed he would win Nobel Peace Prize
The suspected shooter, 27-year-old Brenton Tarrant, also wrote of how he attempted to seek the blessings of Norwegian mass shooter Anders Behring Breivik
The attacks at the Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and Linwood Mosque during Friday prayers by suspected gunman Brenton Tarrant, 28, has left 49 dead and at least a further 20 seriously injured. Before carrying out the shooting, Tarrant uploaded a 74-page manifesto explaining his motivations and reasonings, with social media now pouring through the document for a peek into his psyche.
Amongst poems and musings about his philosophies, in the document Tarrant compares himself to Nelson Mandela and claimed he would someday win a Nobel Peace Prize over the Christchurch attacks. He even bragged that he would be released from jail after 27 years, exactly like the former South African president.
According to the Daily Mail, Tarrant's manifesto has parallels to that written by Anders Behring Breivik, the domestic terrorist whose attacks in the Norwegian capital of Oslo in July 2011 left 77 dead and another 209 injured.
Magnus Ranstorp of the Swedish National Defense College analyzed Tarrant's manifesto and said it had similarities to the 1500-page tome penned by Breivik. He explained that while Tarrant's version was shorter and "more sloppy," the 27-year-old also shared certain traits with the Norwegian, including their objection to mass immigration.
Ranstorp also said Tarrant's manifesto "has to some extent the same themes as Breivik" and revealed to a Swedish radio station that the New Zealand mass shooter had claimed he had "been in contact with Breivik's sympathizers."
Indeed, Tarrant claimed in his manifesto that he had sought out Breivik's blessing prior to carrying out the attack. He said he got a blessing from the 'Knights Templar,' an extremist right-wing group of which Breivik was reportedly a member.
However, the Daily Mail reported that this claim was refuted by Breivik's lawyer, Oeystein Storrvik. Storrvik was quoted telling Norway's VG newspaper that his client had "very limited contacts with the surrounding world so it seems very unlikely that he has had contact."
Tarrant's idolization of Breivik also saw Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg drawn into making a comment about the mosque shootings.
Solberg told the country's broadcaster NRK that the 27-year-old's manifesto "unfortunately gives associations to a situation in Norway" which she said was "one of the worst in our time."
Speaking about the massacre, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the events in Christchurch represented "an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence" and labeled it a "terrorist attack."
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said three men and a woman had been taken into custody after the shootings, and that one of the men who was in his 20s was charged with murder. The man is scheduled to appear in court to face his charges on Saturday, March 16.