When the terrorist advanced toward the mosque, killing those in his path, Abdul Aziz didn’t hide. Instead, he picked up the first thing he could find, a credit card machine, and ran outside screaming “Come here!”
Aziz, 48, is being hailed as a hero for preventing more deaths during Friday prayers at the Linwood mosque in Christchurch after leading the gunman in a cat-and-mouse chase before scaring him into speeding away in his car.
But Aziz, whose four sons and dozens of others remained in the mosque while he faced off with the gunman, said he thinks it’s what anyone would have done.
The right-wing terrorist killed 50 people in terror attacks at two mosques in the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand’s modern history.
He is believed to have killed 41 people at the Al Noor mosque before driving about 5 kilometers across town and attacking the Linwood mosque, where he killed seven more
people. One person died later in hospital.
Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with one count of murder over the slayings and a judge said on 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 Aziz.
“I wanted him to chase me in the car park as it would save more people in the masjid, but he didn’t see me probably,” Aziz said.
He said the gunman ran back to his car to get another gun, and Aziz hurled the credit card machine at him, according to the Associated Press. He said he could hear his two youngest sons, aged 11 and 5, urging him to come back inside.
Aziz then went to the back and picked up a gun the shooter had abandoned that was next to a dead body. He squeezed the trigger but it had no bullets.
He said he continued to see gunshots flying through the mosque, and so he yelled out, “I’m outside, come outside.'”
The gunman dropped the gun he was using, Aziz said in a separate interview with The Sun. The shooter then returned to his car for a second time to grab another loaded rifle.
That’s when Aziz said he threw the gun he had picked up “like an arrow” at the windshield of the shooter’s car, so, the windshield shattered: “That’s why he got scared.”
Aziz said the gunman was cursing at him, yelling that he was going to kill them all. But he drove away and 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.
Originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, Aziz 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.
Aziz said he did not feel fear or much of anything when facing the gunman — it was like he was on autopilot.
And he believes that God did not think it was his time to die.
Source: The Associated Press