Man who stood up to mosque gunman probably saved lives

Lester Mason
March 17, 2019

"This is a killer", he said. The number of injured is also 50, 36 of those remain in Christchurch Hospital, 2 remain critical and one child in Starship Hospital.

"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.

Latef Alabi, the Linwood mosque's acting imam, said he believed the death toll would have been far higher if it had not been for Aziz's actions.

A survivor of the New Zealand attacks at two mosques recounted Saturday the moments in which he confronted one of the suspects in the attack.

Mr Aziz said: "I was screaming to the guy, "Come I'm here, come I'm here".

"I realised this is something else".

He then shouted at the congregation of more than 80 to get down. They hesitated. A shot rang out, a window shattered and a body fell.

"Then this brother came over".

"The young guy who usually takes care of the mosque he saw an opportunity and pounced on him (the gunman) and grabbed his gun", Mazharuddin said. Then he went to the mosque as usual.

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

Aziz then heard one of his sons call out, "Daddy, please come back inside!"

The gunman couldn't get a good angle on Wahabzadah, he said, because Wahabzadah was ducking between cars and a fence.

The gunman returned firing but Aziz said he ran past parked cars which prevented the attacker from getting a clean shot.

Mosque worker Abdul Aziz risked his own life to challenge the gunman and try to snatch his weapon, according to attack survivor Syed Mazharuddin.

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. "And I just got the gun and throw it on his window like an arrow and blast his window". "That's why he got scared". Aziz kept chasing the attacker as he sped off in his vehicle.

Online videos indicate police officers managed to force the vehicle from the road and drag out the suspect soon after.

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. And, he always thought, a peaceful one as well. He has been remanded in custody until April 5 and police have said more charges are likely to follow. And he believes that God, that Allah, didn't think it was his time to die.

Witnesses at the Masjid al Noor mosque said the shooter was a white male with magazines of ammunition strapped to his legs.

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.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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