Australia’s ABC News affiliate reports:
The Australian man who carried out the Christchurch massacre has been charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 counts of attempted murder. New Zealand Police announced the fresh charges against Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, in a written statement on Thursday afternoon.
Tarrant was arrested on March 15 for his involvement in the shooting deaths of 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch and charged with one count of murder, but police indicated further charges would be laid.
The former personal trainer stormed two mosques in Christchurch with a number of high-powered weapons and live streamed the attack online, in what is alleged to be the single-worst terrorist attack carried out by an Australian.
The New York Times reports:
If Mr. Tarrant is found guilty, he could be sentenced to life in prison without parole. No one in New Zealand has ever received that sentence, but judges have the right to impose it for particularly heinous murders. New Zealand does not have the death penalty.
Since the massacre, New Zealand has moved swiftly to ban military-style semiautomatic weapons, and it is considering putting restrictions on social media. On Thursday, Australia passed a law requiring social media platforms to quickly remove “abhorrent violent material,” over the objections of tech companies.