Yesterday I wrote about the Linwood mosque, the smaller mosque where the killer continued his murder spree in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. According to an eyewitness who was taking cover on the floor, a man from the mosque confronted and fought the shooter and took away his gun. It turns out that was a bit of a simplification of what happened. Today we have interviews with Abdul Aziz, the man who confronted the shooter.
Aziz heard shots outside and ran toward them. He wanted to have something in his hand to use as a weapon so, as he passed a table, he picked up a credit card machine. When he got outside he saw the shooter dressed in armor and a balaclava face mask and he saw two people who had already been shot lying on the ground. The shooter was trying to retrieve another gun from his car so Aziz threw the credit card machine at him. The attacker pulled out a gun and started shooting at Aziz who was able to take cover behind another car.
“I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t have any fear on me or anything,” Aziz said. “My only concern was to save other people from there…,” he added.
At that point, Aziz saw another body and beside it was a shotgun the shooter had dropped. There was no ammunition left for the shotgun but picked it up anyway. “And I was screaming to the guy ‘Come, I’m here,’ I tried to put his focus on me,” Aziz said. The shooter went inside and began shooting while Aziz was outside: “And I screamed at him ‘Come on I’m outside, come on I’m outside.’ I [was] swearing at him and everything.”
“Then I saw him, he dropped the gun [and] he run. He ran and I chased him. I chased him [and] he run to his car and sit in the driver’s seat. When he sit on the driver’s seat I didn’t know if he had another gun or things. He might get another gun to shoot me. That shotgun I had in my hands, I throw like an arrow on him. It bust his window…” Aziz clarified that when the car window broke the shooter may have believed he’d been shot at. That was enough confrontation for the shooter. He cursed at Aziz and drove away. Aziz chased him down the street with the empty shotgun.
The imam at Linwood mosque confirmed that if not for Aziz things might have been significantly worse:
Aziz remained humble and said he thinks it’s what anyone would have done while in such danger, while Latef Alabi, the Linwood mosque’s acting imam, said more people would have died if not for Aziz’s actions.
The imam said he stopped prayers on Friday after hearing a voice outside and then seeing a man in black military-style gear and a helmet holding a large gun. At first, he thought it was a police officer but then he noticed two dead bodies near him.
“I realized this is something else. This is a killer,” he said, adding that he then yelled at the congregation to get down.
“Then this brother came over. He went after him, and he managed to overpower him, and that’s how we were saved,” Alabi said, referring to Aziz. “Otherwise, if he managed to come into the mosque, then we would all probably be gone.”
Aziz is an immigrant from Afghanistan but he has lived in Australia for 25 years and only moved to New Zealand a couple of years ago. In an era when manhood is often seen as “toxic” or at least problematic by a lot of people, Aziz is a reminder that manhood is also something positive and at times heroic. I don’t know if Aziz drinks beer but if he does, he should never have to buy another beer anywhere in New Zealand or Australia for the rest of his life. He took on a mass murderer with a credit card machine and an empty gun and he got the killer to curse him and drive away.
This first interview with Aziz is the most detailed. Below that is another interview apparently recorded near the mosque.