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Man Who Chased Away New Zealand Shooter From Mosque Hailed as ‘Hero’

By: Raka Mukherjee


Last Updated: March 18, 2019, 12:24 IST

Man Who Chased Away New Zealand Shooter From Mosque Hailed as ‘Hero’

The shooter killed 50 people after attacking two mosques in Christchurch in the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand’s modern history.

Mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers killed at least 50 people in Christchurch, while several explosive devices were defused, in what appeared to be a carefully planned terrorist attack.

The attack was one of the deadliest in New Zealand's modern history. A video of the massacre was also live-streamed by the attacker.

In the middle of this, a local man emerged as a hero for singlehandedly trying to get the shooter to leave the mosque.

Abdul Aziz, a furniture shop owner, was at the Linwood Mosque when the shooter opened fire on people praying inside.

Aziz, after hearing the shots bravely carried on and picked up a credit card reader off a table to use as a weapon before seeing the bodies of two people in a nearby pathway.

After spotting the shooter who was heading towards his car to get hold of a second gun, Aziz hurled the machine at him.

The shooter then got his new gun and started shooting at Aziz about four or five times - but the latter was able to duck between cars.

Aziz spotted the shotgun which had been abandoned by the shooter and chased him as the attacker returned to his car for a second time to get another weapon.

When the shooter saw that Aziz had a gun he ran back to his car.

"The gun I had in my hand, the shotgun, I just threw it at him like a spear at his window. His window blasted and he got really shocked - he thought I had shot at him or something," said Aziz in an interview.

"And then he just swore at me and drove off [while I was] still chasing with the gun," Aziz added.

Seven people died at the Linwood Islamic Centre - the second of two mosques targeted by the shooter in the New Zealand city.

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.

Aziz denied he was a hero, saying: "I don't think I'm a hero because if I was not there somebody else would do the same thing. That's part of humanity, to help another human".

Originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, Aziz left there when he was a boy and lived in Australia for more than 25 years before moving to New Zealand a couple of years ago. The community in his new nation is now recognizing this man for his bravery.

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