Man who scared away Christchurch mosque gunman hailed as a hero

Postado Março 17, 2019

The windshield shattered, Mr Aziz said.

The 48-year-old is responsible for singlehandedly stopping the Christchurch shooter from continuing the massacre at the Linwood mosque, the second mosque he targeted during Friday's mass shootings.

The gunman killed 41 people at the Al Noor mosque before heading across town to the Linwood mosque where he killed seven others. One other person died at the hospital later.

"If it wasn't for Aziz, the death toll would have been far higher", Latef Alabi, Linwood's mosque's acting imam told AP. He saw a guy in black military-style gear and a helmet holding a large gun, and assumed it was a police officer. Then he saw two bodies and heard the gunman yelling obscenities.

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

"Then this brother came over".

Mr Aziz said as he ran outside screaming, he was hoping to distract the attacker. He said the suspect ran to his auto and got in, which is when he threw a gun at the vehicle.

The gunman returned, firing. 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.

The gunman began shooting at Mr Aziz, but he managed to dodge between cars parked outside the mosque.

Abdul Aziz smashed window of the terrorist's vehicle with strikes of the gun, which the culprit had dropped to pull out more weapons from his auto.

But he drove away and Mr Aziz said he chased the auto down the street to a red light, before it made a U-turn and sped away.

Police caught the man a few minutes later.

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

"If that hadn't happened, many more would have died and I wouldn't be here now", he said.

Mr Aziz said he did not feel fear or much of anything when facing the gunman - it was like he was on autopilot.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with one count of murder over the slayings and a judge said on Saturday that it was reasonable to assume more charges would follow. And he believes that God, that Allah, didn't think it was his time to die.