The Christchurch Attack's Financial Blueprint
On March 15th, 2019, 28-year-old Brenton Harrison Tarrant killed 51 people and injured 40 more when he opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The Australian citizen was sentenced to life in prison without parole for conducting the mass shooting. In response to the event, the government established a Royal Commission to analyze the attack while examining the work of national security agencies. The report was published publicly in December 2020 and included extensive details on Tarrant, including his financial activity leading up to the attack. Drawing on the Commission’s findings, this article outlines the various costs associated with the Christchurch mass shooting and how Tarrant funded the attack.
On the morning of March 15th, 2019, Tarrant drove 360km from his city of Dunedin to Christchurch. Upon arriving to Christchurch at approximately 1:30 pm, he turned on the GoPro attached to his helmet and began live-streaming to Facebook. He then drove up to Al Noor Mosque and exited his vehicle.
At 1:40 pm he approached the front door of the building, armed with a shotgun and semi-automatic rifle, and opened fire at worshippers. Six minutes later, he drove to Linwood Mosque and continued his attack. Tarrant left IEDs in the vicinity of both mosques, although the devices did not end up detonating.
In these two attacks, he killed over 50 worshippers and injured an additional 40 between the two locations. Tarrant then got back in his car and attempted to drive to another mosque in Ashburton approximately 90km southwest of Christchurch. Police vehicles pursued him, and a few minutes later they apprehended him.
In the lead up to the attack, Tarrant generating a significant financial trail that, had law enforcement or security services been paying attention, would have provided strong indications as to his plans and intentions.