A 48-year old man Abdul Aziz has been labelled a hero for chasing away the gunman who had attacked the mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, where him and nearly 100 worshippers were observing their prayers.
The suspect Brenton Tarrant, 28 was arrested shortly after Aziz confronted him, and has been charged with murder.
Tarrant had already killed dozens at Al Noor mosque before driving off to Linwood mosque where Aziz and others were worshipping. He had filmed his attack on Facebook Live.
Aziz charged at Tarrant with a credit card machine when someone shouted that a gunman had opened fire.
“He had on army clothes. I wasn’t sure 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.
Tarrant ran back to his car and got another gun and Aziz said he threw the credit card machine at him as he ducked between cars.
He later picked up a gun dropped by the shooter but found out there was no bullet in it when he pulled the trigger.
“I was screaming at the guy, come over here, come over here – I just wanted to put his focus on me.”
Aziz followed Tarrant as he went back inside the mosque.
“When he saw me with the shotgun in my hands, he dropped the gun and ran away toward his car. I chased him.”
“He sat in his car and with the shotgun in my hands, I threw it through his window like an arrow. He just swore at me and took off,” Aziz said.
“When I came back in the mosque I could see that everybody was very frightened and trying to cover. I told them, ‘Brother, you are safe now, get up, he’s gone. He’s just run away.’ And then after that everybody started crying.”
Aziz, who is from Kabul, Afghanistan and only moved to New Zealand 2 and a half years ago, had four children in the mosque.