Thursday, March 21, 2019 | ePaper

Mosque 'hero' tackled gunman, grabbed weapon

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A survivor of the shooting at the Linwood mosque has revealed how his friend risked his life to tackle the gunman and wrestle away the weapon.
Syed Mazharuddin witnessed the attack and said he heard gunshots and could tell the shooter was very close.
"People got feared and there was screaming around and I tried to take cover," he said.
"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." Mazharuddin said the shooter was wearing protective gear and firing wildly.
A 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," Mazharuddin said.
"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."
Mazharuddin said friends around him had been shot in the chest and another in the head.
One of his friends died at the scene, another was left bleeding heavily as Mazharuddin tried to contact emergency services.
"I ran out and then the police came and they didn't let me come back in again so I couldn't save my friend, he was bleeding heavily," he said.
"It took almost half an hour, more than half an hour by the time the ambulance could arrive and I think he must have died."
Meanwhile a survivor of the Al Noor Mosque shooting in Deans Ave has given a rattled interview outside Christchurch Hospital, describing the moment his friend was gunned down as his three children fled from the terrorist's gunfire.
Khaled Al-Nobani described the chaotic bloody scenes inside the Al Noor Mosque as a man entered with two rifles, one a "pump action", and "started shooting everyone".
"This guy, this terrorist guy, stand maybe two minutes. After that he was shooting everyone, everyone - young people, old women," Al-Nobani said.
"He shot the first one on the gate, two people in the corridor, and go inside started shooting everyone.
"I leave through a door, break the gate and start taking the kids first. My friends help."
Al-Nobani also recounted one man who attempted to take the gun from the shooter.
"One guy he jump for him, try to take the gun from him. He shot him straight away. I try to follow him, but I can't," he said.
Al-Nobani said out on the street he saw a friend of his and his 5-year-old daughter were just approaching to pray.
"He is in the hospital, she is in the hospital," he said.
A horrific scene of the shooter gunning down a father as his three children fled towards Al-Nobani, was also described. "He [gunman] also go on the street, the main road, between park and the mosque and he is shooting at my friend," he said.
"And when his kids runs away, he [the gunman] shot him as well. I come and get the kids. Some Kiwi come to help us."
Al-Nobani was also very unhappy about the response time of police.
"The police also took 20 minutes to come. We are in the middle of the city," he said angrily.
"The middle of Christchurch - 20 minutes the police took to come. There was no traffic about. You need two minute [maximum] response."
Al-Nobani said two of his friends had already passed away, one a refugee from Syria with four kids and a wife.
The survivor of the Al Noor Mosque said he has more than 10 "close friends" in Christchurch Hospital tonight.
"We have more than 30 people pass away. I go outside, I touch the people. I put him in the car, I take my car and bring two people in here [Christchurch Hospital]. One girl I think she is from Fiji and one man from Iraq," he said. Al-Nobani said the gunman had been "talking bad words, and played music, and called some friends as well" as he opened fire on the mosque's members.

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