The bravery displayed by the police officers who captured the Christchurch gunman has been heralded by the New Zealand police minister who revealed what the suspect shouted as he was taken to the ground.
Police Minister Stuart Nash said the courage and response time from the officers involved almost certainly prevented the gunman from launching another attack, after he shot up two mosques during Friday morning prayer last week.
Shortly after the gunman returned to his car following an attack on the second mosque, two police officers rammed the suspect’s car, forcing him off the road before dragging him from the driver’s seat.
It was there he yelled “I’ve got a bomb”, Nash explained.
“These two guys pull this guy out but at the same time he was yelling, ‘I’ve got a bomb’ and shooting at the same time, so we overuse the word hero, but not in this case,” he said.
When quizzed if the officers’ heroism would be officially recognised, Nash said there “aren’t too many more acts of bravery higher than that”.
Fifty people were killed and dozens more injured during the 36-minute reign of terror. Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, 28, was charged with murder one day after the attack.
$10m raised for Christchurch families
The outpouring of support continues with around £5m raised for the families of victims.
The largest of a series of crowdfunding pages quickly set up following Friday’s terror attack in Christchurch, run by the New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups, had collected more than £3.8m by Thursday.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with donations, more than we thought possible,” organisers said of the 86,000 donations to the Givealittle page.
A second campaign, by the New Zealand Islamic Info Centre, had separately received about £1.2m for grieving families.
“No amount of money will bring back their loved ones, but we do hope to lessen their burden in some way,” organisers on the LaunchGood page said.
Victims also have access to New Zealand’s public insurance scheme, the Accident Compensation Corporation, which has offered assistance with funeral costs, grants to families and covers medical costs for those hurt, including visitors to the country.
It was earlier reported A-list celebrities such as Madonna, Ben Stiller and Chris Rock had been donating to various charities following the event.
The donations come after the Melbourne teen, dubbed “egg boy” announced he would donate the money raised for him in a crowdfunding page to the victims.
The 17-year-old was whacked in the face by disgraced Senator Fraser Anning and taken to the ground by his supporters after he slapped an egg on the independent’s head on Saturday.
Will Connolly’s action came after the ultra-conservative Queensland senator said Muslim immigration contributed to the 50 deaths in the Christchurch massacres.