Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Abdul Aziz: The 'hero' who chased Christchurch terrorist away from mosque

Abdul Aziz: The 'hero' who chased Christchurch terrorist away from mosque

The gunman is believed to have killed at least 41 people at the Al Noor mosque before driving about 5km (3 miles) across town and attacking the Linwood mosque, where he killed seven more people. One person died in hospital.

Other survivors also spoke of the frightening scenes they experienced during the shooting, speaking about the screaming and other sights and sounds inside the mosque.

"You don't have much time to think, whatever you think of, you just do it, you know", Aziz told AFP, brushing off the "hero" tag as local Muslims gathered to thank him for saving relatives and friends.

The main suspect in mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques was charged with one count of murder a day after an attack that killed 49 people and wounded dozens, prompting the prime minister to vow reform of the country's gun laws.

Seven people died at the Linwood mosque.

Latef Alabi, the mosque's acting imam, said: "He (Aziz) went after him. and that's how we were saved".

He saw a man in black military-style gear and a helmet holding a large gun and assumed it was a police officer. At first, he thought it was a police officer but then he noticed two dead bodies near him.

"I realised this is something else. This is a killer", he said.

He yelled at the congregation of more than 80 to get down.

They hesitated only for a shot to be fired by Tarrant, shattering a window and felling a worshipper.

"Then this brother came over. And we are not hearing from him", he said. "Otherwise, if he managed to come into the mosque, then we would all probably be gone".

Aziz told the AP how he picked up a credit card reader and ran outside to confront the gunman.

When Afghan refugee Abdul Aziz saw a man brandishing a gun outside his mosque in Christchurch, he ran towards the attacker armed with the only weapon he could find - a hand-held credit card machine.

The killer came back and opened fire but wasn't able to get a clean shot as Aziz ran through cars parked in the driveway.

He said the attacker ran back to the auto for a second time to grab another rifle. "I managed to throw the gun on his auto and smash the vehicle window, and I could see he was a bit frightened".

The windshield shattered, Mr Aziz said. Aziz kept chasing the attacker as he sped off in his auto.

He said the gunman drove away and online videos indicate police officers managed to force the auto from the road and drag out the suspect soon after.

Wahabzadah said that after seeing racism in Australia, he moved to New Zealand because it was a peaceful country. He has been remanded in custody until April 5 and police have said more charges are likely to follow. It was like he was on autopilot.

And he believes that God, that Allah, did not think it was his time to die. A bomb was also found in a auto on Strickland Street about 4 kilometres from the Al Noor Mosque.

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