#ChristChurchShooting: Face Of the Hero Who Helped To Avert More Casualties

A heroic father grabbed accused Christchurch terrorist Brenton Tarrant’s gun and forced him away from a mosque – bringing an end to the gunman’s killing spree. Abdul Aziz, 48, is being hailed a hero for preventing more deaths at the Linwood mosque after scaring the alleged killer into his car. But Aziz, whose four sons remained in the mosque while he faced off Tarrant, said he thinks it is what anyone would have done. At least 49 people were killed after Tarrant allegedly attacked two mosques in the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand since 1983. The Australian is believed to have killed 41 people at the Al Noor mosque before driving about three miles across town to attack the Linwood mosque – where seven people were killed and one later died in hospital. White supremacist Tarrant, 28, has been charged with one count of murder in the slayings and in a court appearance today a judge said it was reasonable to assume more charges would follow. Daniel John Burrough, 18, was also charged with ‘exciting hostility or ill-will’ in relation to the mosque attacks but he did not appear in court with Tarrant yesterday. Police arrested three men – including Tarrant and Burrough – and a woman following the attack. The unnamed woman remains in custody, while the third man who was arrested is not linked with the attacks and has been released. A member of the public tried to storm the court to ‘knife’ the attacker before proceedings began, as citizens were barred from attending. Reliving the attack, Mr 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, so he threw a credit card machine at him. He said he could hear his two youngest sons, 11 and five, urging him to come back inside.

The gunman returned firing but Mr Aziz said he ran past parked cars which prevented him from being shot. Mr Aziz spotted a gun the attacker had dropped and picked it up. He pointed it and squeezed the trigger but it was empty. He said the gunman ran back to the car for a second time to grab another weapon. ‘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.’ He said the gunman was cursing at him, yelling that he was going to kill them all. But he drove away and Mr Aziz said he chased the car down the street to a red light before it made a U-turn and sped away. Online videos indicate police officers managed to force the car from the road and drag out the suspect soon after. Mr Aziz, originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, said he left as a refugee when he was a boy and lived for more than 25 years in Australia before moving to New Zealand a couple of years ago. ‘I’ve been to a lot of countries and this is one of the beautiful ones,’ he said.  He added that he always thought it was a peaceful one. Mr Aziz said he didn’t feel fear or much of anything when he faced the gunman. He said it was like he was on autopilot and he believes Allah did not think it was his time to die. Latef Alabi, the Linwood mosque’s acting imam, said the death toll would have been far higher at the Linwood mosque if it wasn’t for Mr Aziz. Mr Alabi said he heard a voice outside the mosque at about 1.55pm and stopped the prayer he was leading and looked out the window. He saw a man in black military-style gear and a helmet holding a large gun and assumed it was a police officer. But he saw two bodies and heard the gunman yelling obscenities. ‘I realised this is something else. This is a killer,’ he said. He yelled at the congregation of more than 80 people to get down but they hesitated and a shot was fired. It caused a window to shatter and a body fell and people began to realise it was an attack. Mr Alabi said: ‘Then this brother came over. He (Aziz) went after him, and he managed to overpower him, and that’s how we were saved. ‘Otherwise, if he managed to come into the mosque, then we would all probably be gone.’ It comes after another hero emerged yesterday.  Naeem Rashid died after trying to wrestle a gun from the shooter. It was later revealed his son was also a victim of the terror attack.  Mr Rashid tried to overpower the gunman during the mass shooting at Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch on Friday afternoon. The hero was left badly wounded after he launched himself at the shooter in a bid to protect fellow worshippers. He was rushed to hospital following the attack, but died late Friday night. Mr Rashid was from Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he worked with a private bank before he moved to Christchurch to work as a teacher. 

Mr Rashid’s 21-year-old son, Talha, also lost his life during the mass shooting. Dr Khursheed Alam confirmed to ARY News that his brother Mr Rashid and nephew Talha had been killed in the attack. Pakistan’s High Commission in Wellington earlier confirmed that four Pakistani men were wounded and five others missing. A survivor also told how another man tackled the gunman and stole one of his weapons. Witness Syed Mazharuddin said he also saw a second hero – believed to be Mr Aziz – at the Linwood Masjid mosque, the second to be attacked. Mr Mazharuddin said he saw the shooter wearing protective gear and firing wildly before a young man attempted to tackle the gunman. Photo Credit: Getty

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here