May 21 (UPI) — The accused gunmen of a shooting at two mosques in New Zealand has been charged with one count of engaging in a terrorist act, police said Tuesday.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, was charged under section 6A of the Terrorism Suppression Act of 2002 following consultation between police, Crown Law and Christchurch Crown Solicitors Office.
“The charge will allege that a terrorist act was carried out in Christchurch on 15 March 2019,” Bush said in a statement.
An additional murder charge and two additional attempted murder charges were also filed, he said.
Bush said police had met with families of the victims earlier Tuesday to inform them of the new charges.
Tarrant now faces 51 charges of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one under the Terrorism Suppression Act.
Police arrested Tarrant March 15 for his role in the shooting of two mosques in the city of Christchurch that left 51 people dead and dozens more injured.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it one of “New Zealand’s darkest days”
He was initially charged with one count of murder but Bush had said additional charges would be filed.
His next court appearance was scheduled for June.