Armed with only a credit card machine, 48-year-old Abdul Aziz ran after shooter Brenton Tarrant, 28, at the Linwood mosque in Christchurch, leading the gunman in a cat-and-mouse chase before scaring him into speeding away in his car.
For this brave act, Aziz is now being hailed as a hero for preventing more deaths during Friday prayers at the mosque.
The gunman killed 50 people after attacking two mosques in the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand’s modern history. He first killed 41 people at the Al Noor mosque before driving about five kilometres across town and attacking the Linwood mosque, where he killed seven more people. One person died later in a hospital.
Aziz’s narrative – and it reads like something out of a thriller novel
“Aziz said as he ran outside screaming, he was hoping to distract the attacker. He said the gunman ran back to his car to get another gun, and Aziz hurled the credit card machine at him.
He said he could hear his two youngest sons, aged 11 and 5, urging him to come back inside.
The gunman returned, firing. Aziz said he ran, weaving through cars parked in the driveway, which prevented the gunman from getting a clean shot. Then Aziz spotted a gun the gunman had abandoned and picked it up, pointed it and squeezed the trigger. It was empty.
He said the gunman ran back to the car for a second time, likely to grab yet 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 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.”
Aziz left his country of origin Afghanistan as a refugee, and had lived for more than 25 years in Australia before moving to New Zealand a couple of years ago.