A survivor of the recent terror attack in New Zealand has said another man in one of the mosques wrestled the gun out of the shooter’s hands and chased him out of the building.
The shootings, which took place at two mosques in Christchurch, have been described by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as one of the country’s ‘darkest days’. 49 people have been killed and around 20 people seriously injured.
Syed Mazharuddin was inside the Linwood mosque at the time and witnessed the attack.
According to Syed, the shooter was wearing protective gear and ‘firing wildly’ inside the mosque.
Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, Syed said a ‘young guy who usually takes care of the mosque’ tackled the gunman in the Linwood mosque.
People got feared and there was screaming around and I tried to take cover.
By the time I took cover this guy came through the main entrance door and it’s a small mosque – there were about 60-70 people there.
Just around the entrance door there were elderly people sitting there praying and he just started shooting at them.
The man from inside the mosque then tried to tackle the gunman.
The young guy who usually takes care of the mosque … he saw an opportunity and pounced on [the gunman] and took his gun.
The hero tried to chase and he couldn’t find the trigger in the gun … he ran behind him but there were people waiting for him in the car and he fled.
Linwood mosque was the second location to be attacked. Seven people died there, no doubt it would have been more if the man inside the mosque hadn’t acted so heroically.
The shooter ran out of the mosque and into a car that was waiting for him, however police caught up with the car, ramming it to the side of the road, and arresting the people inside. So far police have charged one man with murder and two other people are in custody.
Syed said his friends inside the mosque had been shot in the chest, and when the police came he wasn’t allowed back inside to help them.
Khaled Al-Nobani, a survivor from the Al Noor Mosque, where more than forty people were killed, said a man from that mosque also tried to tackle the gunman, but tragically was not successful.
If you’re concerned and need to contact a friend or relative please visit the International Committee of the Red Cross, who have set up a website by which you can restore links and register your own safety.
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.