Published: Sun, March 17, 2019

Man who stood up to mosque gunman probably saved lives

Man who stood up to mosque gunman probably saved lives

A survivor of the Christchurch massacre has described how a heroic worshipper at one of the targeted mosques seized an empty rifle discarded by alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant and then used it to chase their attacker away.

Witnesses claim the courageous man ran towards the Christchurch killer with the device screaming "come on" outside the Linwood mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday.

A father has been hailed a hero for preventing more deaths by chasing the Christchurch gunman away from a mosque where he had already killed seven people.

"We managed to get her into the vehicle of one of the people who was helping and got her to the hospital, she was critical", he told RNZ.

"If it wasn't for Aziz, the death toll would have been far higher", Latef Alabi, Linwood's mosque's acting imam told AP.

Mr Alabi said he heard a voice outside the mosque about 1:55 pm (local time) and stopped the prayer he was leading and peeked out of the window. He saw a man dressed in black military-style gear and a helmet holding a large gun.

A mosque shooting survivor in New Zealand has been hailed as a hero for preventing more deaths after confronting the shooter by yelling "Come here!" and leading him on a chase that ended with the shooter speeding away in his vehicle. At first, he thought it was a police officer but then he noticed two dead bodies near him.

He yelled at the congregation of more than 80 people to get down but Aziz did not hesitate to go out and confront the gunman, said Alabi.

"Then this brother came over".

He told Stuff that as soon as the attacker had left he ran back inside the mosque to help those who had been shot. "Otherwise, if he managed to come into the mosque, then we would all probably be gone".

Aziz said he ran outside screaming, hoping to stop the gunman from entering the mosque. Mr Aziz said he ran, weaving through cars parked in the driveway, which prevented the gunman from getting a clean shot.

Aziz then took an abandoned firearm that had no ammunition and threw it on the killer's auto after he ran to the vehicle for the second time.

The shotgun he had picked up was out of ammunition, so when the killer got back in his auto Mr Aziz says he threw the weapon "like an arrow", breaking the vehicle's window.

Police caught the man a few minutes later.

Originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, Aziz says he left as a refugee when he was a boy and lived in Australia for more than 25 years before moving to New Zealand a couple of years ago.

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