As many as 49 people lost their lives and 48 were injured on Friday in the mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques. However, many more would have been killed if it wasn’t for the heroic act of a mosque worker who grabbed the attacker’s gun and forced him to flee.
After the atrocious terror attack, witnesses who were asked to describe their ordeal said a young mosque worker risked his life to wrestle the gun from the attacker and prevented more people from dying.
According to a report in Sky News, a survivor told New Zealand Herald he was praying with around 60 to 70 people at Christchurch’s Linwood mosque when he heard gunshots.
The survivor, Syed Mazharuddin, said people started screaming for help and he tried to take cover as the attacker came through the entrance.
Syed then described how the gunman wearing body armour started shooting indiscriminately at the people praying.
He said as a woman was screaming for help, the gunman shot her in the face and that is when a young man came from behind the shooter, grabbed him and snatched his gun.
Syed said “the hero” then ran behind the attacker with his gun but he couldn’t find the trigger and the attacker fled with the people waiting for him in a car.
The young man takes care of the mosque and helps with parking among other things, the survivor said.
At the time, Syed was trying to contact emergency services as one of his friends died of injuries and another was bleeding profusely.
He said, “If that hadn’t happened, many more people would have died and I wouldn’t be here. Hats off to that man. I will definitely try and look him up.”
Another survivor at the same mosque said he witnessed the mosque worker’s heroic actions.
The attacker intended to continue the rampage before he was caught by police, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
“The offender was mobile, there were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in, and it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack,” Ardern said.
The suspect, identified as Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian citizen, has been charged with murder, though Ardern added that further charges are likely.