Family of Christchurch suspect 'shattered' after mosque shootings
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The family of the alleged Christchurch gunman has apologised to the victims of the mosque attacks and say they are “devastated” and “shattered”.
Australian Brenton Tarrant has been charged with murder over Friday’s atrocity in which at least 50 people were killed and another 50 hurt.
His uncle Terry Fitzgerald told Australian broadcaster Nine News: “We are so sorry for the families over there, for the dead and the injured.
“What he has done is just not right.”
The suspect’s 81-year-old grandmother, Marie Fitzgerald, said the family was “devastated” and “shattered” that Tarrant had been charged with murdering Muslims at two mosques in Christchurch.
Speaking in the Australian town of Grafton, she said: “We are all gobsmacked, we don’t know what to think. The media is saying he has planned it for a long time so he is obviously not of sound mind.
“It’s just so much of everything to take in that somebody in our family would do anything like this.”
Tarrant, 28, is believed to have travelled overseas, including to Europe, after his father died of cancer in 2010 but did not come back the same man, according to Mrs Fitzgerald.
“It’s only since he travelled overseas I think, that that boy has changed completely to the boy we knew,” she said.
During his school years he spent most of his time on computer games rather than being interested in girls, his grandmother said.
Investigators believe he was planning the attacks for two years after moving to New Zealand.
He returned to his hometown of Grafton, in New South Wales, 12 months ago for his sister’s birthday but there was nothing untoward about him.
Mrs Fitzgerald said: “He was just his normal self.”
His sister and mother have been put under police protection after the terror attacks.