"Come here!": The man who chased away the Christchurch shooter

Adjust Comment Print

As New Zealanders struggled to cope with the deadly mayhem in Christchurch, stories of heroism have emerged from the tragedy, including a worshipper who chased away the gunman armed only with a credit card machine. "This is a killer", Alabi said and shouted at the congregation of more than 80 people to get down.

Four people were arrested, but only a 28-year-old Australian man has been charged with murder.

Aziz, 48, is being hailed as a hero for preventing more deaths during Friday prayers at the Linwood mosque in Christchurch after leading the gunman in a cat-and-mouse chase before scaring him into speeding away in his vehicle.

"At first, I didn't know if he was the good guy or the bad guy. When he swore at me, I knew that he's not the good guy", Aziz told Reuters in an interview. So Lateef's unnamed fellow worshipper seized the initiative and grabbed the rifle, following the attacker to his auto and using it to smash the vehicle's back window before running away. Mr Aziz said he threw the credit card machine at the gunman, ducking between the cars as the shooter opened fire. At that moment, Aziz spotted a gun the suspect had forgotten on the floor, picked it up, aimed at the attacker and pulled the trigger, but nothing came out.

A man pays his respects at a memorial site for victims of the mosque shootings at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch. He said the gunman was cursing at him, yelling that he was going to kill them all. "I heard more gun shots and I thought that is not fire crackers or anything, so I just ran outside".

"He (Aziz) went after him, and he managed to overpower him, and that's how we were saved".

Mr Aziz said he did not feel fear or much of anything when facing the gunman - it was like he was on autopilot. When I saw those Muslims shot dead, I told our brothers, 'Go down! "He has just run away.' And then after that, everybody started crying".

Dozens of Muslims stood by to bury the dead when authorities release the victims' bodies following New Zealand's deadliest shooting in modern history on Friday.

The death toll from Friday's attacks exceeds New Zealand's annual homicide rate; 35 people were killed in 2017, the latest year for which figures are available.

When he realised the mosque was being attacked, he ran towards Tarrant, picking up a credit card machine as a makeshift weapon.

More heroes have come to light as investigators pieced together the incident.

Footage from the attack also shows at least one worshipper at the Noor Mosque, who was gunned down while trying to charge Tarrant during his rampage. Rashid, from Abbottabad, Pakistan, and a New Zealand resident for nine years, was in the mosque with his 21-year-old son.

"We can not be deterred from the work that we need to do on our gun laws", Ardern said. "Pak is proud of Mian Naeem Rashid", Khan said, The Express Tribune reported.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and NZ Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy sign national condolence books at Parliament. Seven people died at the Linwood Mosque, but the gunman's inability to find the main door gave those inside enough warning to move to safety.

The gunman drove from scene after Aziz hurled the shotgun at his auto, shattering the back window.

The video showed him pulling a gun from the rear of his vehicle and heading into the mosque, where he fired at worshippers for about two minutes.

"Otherwise, if he managed to come into the mosque, then we would all probably be gone".

His instinct was to try to keep the shooter outside to "save other people".

Peters told media Tarrant was lucid and understood the situation facing him. "It spooked him well", says Aziz. He had two homemade bombs in the auto.

A New Zealand standard A-category firearm licence is issued after a police and background check.

"They have prevented further deaths and risked their own lives to do so", he added.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the man was apprehended 36 minutes after police were alerted and he was the only person charged in connection with the shootings.

Comments