A survivor who ran towards the Christchurch mosque gunman has been hailed a hero for chasing him off and preventing more deaths.
Abdul Aziz told Sky News when the attacker entered the Linwood mosque, he picked up the first thing he could find — a credit card machine — and ran outside screaming “Come here!”
His actions led the attacker on a cat-and-mouse chase before scaring him into fleeing away in his car.
The gunman is believed to have killed 41 people at the Al Noor mosque before driving about 5 kilometres across town and attacking the Linwood mosque, where he killed eight more people. One person died later in a hospital.
Reliving the attack, the father-of-four, originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, said he heard a voice outside the mosque about 1:55 pm (local time). He went on to explain he saw a man wearing black military-style gear and a helmet holding a large gun, and assumed it was a police officer, before he saw two bodies.
“I realised this is something else. This is a killer,” he said, ABC reports.
Aziz said he ran outside screaming in a bid to cause a distraction. He said the gunman ran back to his car to get another gun, and he launched the credit card machine at him.
The gunman returned firing but Aziz said he ran past parked cars which prevented the attacker from getting a clean shot. Aziz spotted a gun the attacker had dropped and picked it up. It was empty.
He said the attacker ran back to the car for a second time to grab another rifle.
“He gets into his car and I just got the gun and threw it on his window like an arrow and blasted his window,” he said. “The windshield shattered, that’s why he got scared.”
On Friday afternoon the city in the country’s south island was targeted in what has been described as a designated terrorist attack. At about 1.40pm (local time) a gunman entered the Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and opened fire, before driving about 5 kilometres across town and attacking the Linwood mosque. A bomb was also found in a car on Strickland Street about 4 kilometres from the Al Noor Mosque. Four people were arrested, but only a 28-year-old Australian man has been charged with murder.