Report: Local Fired Back on Mosque Attackers, Forcing Suspects To Flee
In the carnage of the attack on two New Zealand mosques, one local Muslim fired back, according to a news report.
According to the New Zealand Herald, one man described only as a “well known Muslim” fired at least two shots at the individuals shooting worshippers at the Linwood Masjid Mosque.
The mosque, at which an estimated seven people died, was the second to be attacked Friday in the city of Christchurch. At the Masjid Al Noor mosque, where the attack began, more than 40 people were reported killed.
The Herald reported that after the man fired two shots at the attackers, they “sped off.”
“I seen a guy with a gun running up the road. He’s been firing about five shots, I think we heard,” witness Mike Nichols said. It was unclear if he was talking about the attacker or the citizen who returned fire.
“It might have been a shotgun. I didn’t get a good look at it, I just cleared off.”
The man later explained to police that he was firing in self-defense.
Police arrested four individuals Friday — three men and one woman. Initial accounts made it unclear as to whether the attacker in the first shooting took part in the second incident or had assistance. The two mosques are about four miles apart.
Nour Tavis was in the Al Noor Mosque when the attack there began.
“Then we heard screaming … everyone panicked,” he said, according to The Herald. “There was shooting and shooting and shooting … people were running and all of a sudden you saw them fall.”
Tavis said someone broke a window, and many in the mosque fled.
“It was the only way to escape,” he said. “I followed.”
He said he was with a friend and his friend’s wife. “When she heard the noise, she wanted to go and make sure her husband was safe,” he said. “She got the bullet, her husband got away. She was gone, she was no more.”
Tavis later went back toward the mosque.
“There were people bleeding to death … it was terrible,” he said.
A witness to the Linwood Mosque shooting described the chaos.
“The shooter was screaming a lot and waving the gun in every direction, shooting, shooting, shooting,” a witness named Hassan said, The Guardian reported.
“I don’t know who of my friends is dead or alive now. I am waiting. Police told me: ‘I am sorry, this is the first time this has ever happened in this country,'” he said.
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