Abdul Aziz struck the Christchurch-bombers in flight - view

Saul Bowman
March 19, 2019

Earlier on Monday, gun retailer Gun City said it had sold four weapons to the alleged gunman online, but it did not sell him the high-powered weapon used in the mosque shootings.

Aziz, who was with his family, chased the attacker outside with a credit card machine and grabbed one of the man's guns before the attacker sped off.

Tarrant then returned to fire, but he couldn't get a direct shot at Aziz as he weaved through the cars parked in the area.

By the time he attacked the Linwood mosque, the gunman had already killed dozens at the Al Noor mosque nearby, and on the streets.

Fifty people were killed and at least 40 others sustained serious injuries when a gunman - identified as Brenton Harrison Tarrant - opened fire during afternoon prayers at two mosques in New Zealand's Christchurch on March 15.

Minutes later, police officers rammed suspected gunman Brenton Tarrant's auto into a curb and took the 28-year-old Australian into custody on charges of murder.

"If it wasn't for Aziz, the death toll would have been far higher", Latef Alabi, Linwood's mosque's acting imam told AP.

Alabi told the press he quickly realized that they were in a life-threatening situation when a man walked in dressed in black combat gear and holding a gun. However, he heard the man yell profanities and saw two bodies soon after.

"I realised this is something else".

On Sunday, prime minister Jacinda Ardern said the process of returning the bodies of those killed to their families would begin that evening. He says he told congregants to get down.

"Then this brother came over. I didn't want him to go inside the mosque".

He said he could hear his two youngest sons, 11 and five, urging him to come back inside.

Police rammed the suspect's vehicle and arrested him as he drove away from the second mosque in the suburb of Linwood.

Abdul Aziz says he came across the gunman who dropped his gun and ran.

He later picked up a gun dropped by the shooter but found out there was no bullet in it when he pulled the trigger.

Mr Aziz said four of his children were with him at the mosque when the attack occurred.

"The windshield shattered; that's why he got scared".

Sarah Liddell, 17, said many of her peers felt intense anxiety since the attack. And, he always thought, a peaceful one, as well.

Mr Aziz said he did not feel fear or much of anything when facing the gunman - it was like he was on autopilot.

"I can't believe... I thought I'd be gone".

Greg Robertson, head of surgery at Christchurch Hospital said the staff were used to gunshots and other severe injuries, but the scale and nature of the attacks was different.

Police have also confirmed they believe "absolutely" that only one perpetrator was responsible for the attacks during Friday prayers.

"We didn't recognise something was happening".

Safi Rizwan, a nephew of Naeem Rashid in Abbottabad, said his uncle had left a message for everyone. Then came another shock.

"We just request the bodies shouldn't be too long in the mosque because the bodies are still lying over there and eventually it will be too hard to wash the bodies and take to the burial and probably things will start deteriorating, that's the worry".

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