Christchurch terror attack: The gunman’s next target

Much about the Christchurch shootings remains unclear, but there is no doubt the scale could have been worse.

Three undisputed points on the map form a triangle that show the alleged killer Brenton Tarrant’s stated intention to strike at a third mosque was real.

The third target, the Ashburton Mosque, is more than an hour’s drive from the Linwood Mosque attack site. When he was stopped by police after leaving Linwood, Tarrant was on the most direct route between the two locations

Police have now confirmed they are not looking for any other killers. Tarrant was allegedly killing alone. It is clear from the PDF document he uploaded just after midnight on Friday morning that Tarrant was in the habit of using standard software widely available: the PDF was saved from a Microsoft Word master document.

Given this reliance on standard software, it is reasonable to assume the alleged killer used Google Maps to scope his targets, plot his routes, and navigate during the attacks.

These are the three relevant points on the map:

  • Masjid Al Noor - “Mosque of Light” - scene of the first attack

  • Linwood Mosque - scene of the second attack

  • 180 Brougham Street - where Brenton Tarrant was stopped and arrested travelling west after police rammed his car

Christchurch terror attack: The gunman’s next target

A passerby’s phone footage shows the killer’s car, a 2005 Subaru Outback, immobilised on the berm of Brougham Street with one wheel off the ground and spinning.

The houses in the background reveal the location as 180 Brougham Street - not Strickland Street as earlier reported - and the direction of travel is west.

Christchurch has only two mosques, the locations of the killings. In Tarrant’s document, he names his third target as the Ashburton Mosque, a white weatherboard building converted from a church in 2017.

Tarrant describes the conversion of the building to a place of Muslim worship as a “desecration”. Elsewhere in the document he mentions the Hagia Sophia, the famous Constantinople church that was converted to a mosque following the fall of the Byzantine Empire.

There are several other targets within Christchurch that Tarrant may have considered while plotting his alleged crime. There are two Halal food outlets - a butchery and a supermarket - in the vicinity of the immobilised car. The most chilling possible target en route to Ashburton is the An-Nur Child Care Centre on Springs Road in Hornby in the city’s far west. The Centre is described as “the only Islamic early learning service in Christchurch”.

Google maps plots a directional route from the Linwood Mosque to An-Nur Child Care Centre directly along Brougham Street.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Saturday police believed he was intending to attack another target.

"The offender was mobile. There were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in, and it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack."

From Tarrant’s writings it is clear he did not intend to die in the attack, and that he had engineered his methods and targets to create a maximum of shock and division throughout New Zealand and the world.

This story has been amended to reflect information from the alleged gunman's manifesto. 

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