Christchurch shootings: Hero picked up NZ attacker's gun and confronted him

Emily Mee, news reporter

A man is being hailed a hero for preventing more deaths after he picked up one of the Christchurch attacker's guns and confronted him.

As the killer was targeting the second of two mosques, the Linwood Islamic Centre where he claimed seven lives, Abdul Aziz ran out of the building and tried to get the gunman to chase him in the car park by distracting him.

Mr Aziz said he picked up a gun the killer had abandoned, pointed it and squeezed the trigger but it was empty.

He said the gunman then ran back to the car for a second time, likely to grab another weapon.

Mr Aziz said he hurled the gun at the vehicle's window which shattered and the gunman "got scared".

"He gets into his car and I just got the gun and threw it on his window like an arrow and blasted his window.

"That's why he got scared."

He said the gunman was cursing at him, yelling he was going to kill them all.

But he drove away and Mr Aziz said he chased the car down the street to a red light, before it made a U-turn and sped away.

Latef Alabi, the mosque's acting imam, said: "He (Aziz) went after him...and that's how we were saved. Otherwise, if he managed to come into the mosque, then we would all probably be gone."

Survivor Syed Mazharuddin told the New Zealand Herald that he was praying with about 60 to 70 people at the mosque when he heard gunshots.

People began screaming and he "tried to take cover" as the attacker came through the entrance, he said.

"Just around the entrance door there were elderly people sitting there praying and he just started shooting at them."

Mr Mazharuddin said the gunman was wearing body armour and shooting indiscriminately.

"There was a lady screaming 'help, help' and he shot her point blank in the face," he said.

"At just that moment, there was one young guy who usually takes care of the mosque and helps with parking and other stuff, so (the man) saw an opportunity and he pounced over to him and grabbed his gun."

Mr Mazharuddin said one of his friends had died at the scene and another was bleeding heavily as he tried to contact emergency services.