A makeshift memorial near the Linwood Mosque in Christchurch. Picture: AAP/Mick Tsikas
A makeshift memorial near the Linwood Mosque in Christchurch. Picture: AAP/Mick Tsikas

Community rallies behind Tarrant family

THE Tarrant family have been overwhelmed by an outpouring of love and support by friends and colleagues following Friday's tragedy in Christchurch.

However, most of these messages will remain unanswered after the Tarrant family ceased all contact with the outside world since the incident.

Staff at Maclean High School were shocked to discover that shooter Brenton Tarrant is the son of English teacher Sharon Tarrant. It is understood several colleagues have sent messages of support to her.

"Sharon is such a beautiful person," said a former colleague who did not wish to be named.

"She's had to be strong in the face of adversity for such a long time and now this; I'm absolutely devastated for her and just want to give her a big hug."

International media outlets have reported that Ms Tarrant and her daughter have been taken to a police safehouse, however on Sunday a spokesperson from NSW Police said this was not accurate.

"We can confirm that family of Mr Tarrant are continuing to assist with enquiries and with the Counter Terrorism Squad," the spokesperson said.

In the meantime, Lawrence residents have reported that journalists and other national and international media outlets have descended on the township in order to obtain more information about Ms Tarrant and her family.

"There [were] journalists, who approached me at the (Lawrence Tavern) this afternoon looking for information and the whereabouts of the mother of Brenton Tarrant. Short shift from me and hopefully anybody else who might be approached. Closed shop as far as I'm concerned!" one person posted on social media.

"It's ridiculous the harassment these people do," another added.