New Zealand shootings: Muslim father tackled gunman by hurling credit card machine at him then taking his gun

Abdul Aziz threw credit card machine at gunman and chased after him with empty weapon

Chiara Giordano
Saturday 16 March 2019 17:29
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Christchurch mosque attacks: What we know so far

A father has been hailed a hero for preventing more deaths by chasing the Christchurch gunman away from a mosque where he had already killed seven people.

Abdul Aziz was praying at Linwood mosque in the quiet New Zealand city on Friday with his four sons when he heard gunshots outside.

The 48-year-old told his children to stay inside as he picked up a credit card machine – the first thing he could find – and ran out of the building screaming “come here” at the gunman in a bid to distract him.

Mr Aziz said he could hear his two youngest sons pleading with him to come back inside as he hurled the machine at the attacker who had returned to his car to get another gun.

The gunman began shooting at Mr Aziz, but he managed to dodge between cars parked outside the mosque.

Mr Aziz said it was at this moment he spotted a gun abandoned by the attacker, who had once again run back to his car.

He said he picked up the weapon and pulled the trigger and, after finding it empty, smashed it through the gunman’s car window.

“He gets into his car and I just got the gun and threw it on his window like an arrow and blasted his window,” said Mr Aziz.

“The windshield shattered; that’s why he got scared.”

The father said the 28-year-old shouted that he would kill them all but quickly drove off.

He said he chased the car down the street to a red light, before it performed a U-turn and sped away.

Online videos suggest police officers managed to force the car from the road and drag the suspect out soon afterwards.

Mr Aziz said he believed anyone would have done what he did if they were in his shoes.

Originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, Mr Aziz said he left as a refugee when he was a child and lived for more than 25 years in Australia before moving to New Zealand a couple of years ago.

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“I’ve been to a lot of countries and this is one of the beautiful ones,” he said, adding that he had always thought New Zealand was peaceful.

The gunman is believed to have killed 41 people at the Al Noor mosque before driving about three miles across town and attacking the Linwood mosque, where he killed seven more people. One person died later in a hospital.

Among the victims were three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim, 14-year-old Sayyad Milne and a four-year-old child.

White supremacist Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with one count of murder and a judge said Saturday that it was reasonable to assume more charges would follow.

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’s actions.

“He went after him, and he managed to overpower him, and that’s how we were saved,” he said.

“Otherwise, if he managed to come into the mosque, then we would all probably be gone.”

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