Mosque attack hero 'saved many more lives by grabbing terrorist's gun'

When the gunman advanced toward the mosque, killing those in his path, Abdul Aziz didn’t hide

A story of true heroism is emerging from the horrific terror attacks on innocent Muslims in New Zealand.

A gunman opened fire on worshippers in two mosques in Christchurch, killing 49 people.

The atrocities took place in Masjid Al Noor mosque, where at least 41 people were killed and another seven were shot dead inside the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque. One person died in hospital.

However, witnesses have described how many more lives could have been lost, if not for the courage of a worker at Linwood Mosque.

Mosque worker Abdul Aziz risked his own life to challenge the gunman and try to snatch his weapon, according to attack survivor Syed Mazharuddin.

He said up to 70 people were praying inside Linwood when gunshots were heard.

“Just around the entrance door there were elderly people sitting there praying and he just started shooting at them“, Mazharuddin told Sky.

He described seeing a woman shout “help”, before being shot in the face at point blank range.

“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.

People gather at a memorial to pay tribute to victims of the mosque attacks outside Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

“The hero tried to chase and he couldn’t find the trigger in the gun… he ran behind him but there were people waiting for him in the car and he fled.”

Aziz said: “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.”

A number of onlookers told similar accounts of a young man creeping up behind the shooter and “hold him until his gun dropped”.

A second survivor, Faisal Sayed, said: “If that hadn’t happened, many more would have died and I wouldn’t be here now.”

Following the horrendous massacre, a 28-year-old Australian man, Brenton Tarrant, has been charged with murder.

Tarrant reportedly made a ‘white power’ hand gesture during his court appearance. He has been remanded in custody until April 5 and police have said more charges are likely to follow.

Officers arrested two others following the attacks and are currently working to establish whether they had any involvement in the terror attacks against the Muslim community in New Zealand.

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has said that gun laws will be reformed after the attacks, as legislation allowed the suspect the legally obtain a semi-automatic weapon.