As alleged New Zealand terrorist attacker Brenton Tarrant gunned down innocent men, women, and children in a Christchurch mosque, Abdul Aziz knew he needed to do something.
The 48-year-old father was one of dozens of worshipers in the Linwood mosque when authorities say a heavily armed Tarrant burst in, opening fire. He had killed seven people when his gun reportedly ran out of ammunition, and Tarrant headed to his car to get another one and continue the massacre. As the Daily Mail noted, the unarmed Aziz ran at the gunman as he left the mosque.
As ABC.net reported, Aziz grabbed the first thing he could find — which happened to be a credit card machine — and chased after Tarrant, yelling “Come here!” has he attacked the alleged terrorist. Aziz said he threw the credit card machine at the gunman, who by then had picked up another weapon and started shooting at Aziz. As his two youngest sons — aged 11 and five — yelled for Aziz to come back into the mosque, he found a gun that the terrorist had discarded and picked it up, charging again at him.
The gun had no more ammunition, so Aziz used the weapon itself to attack the terrorist.
“He gets into his car and I just got the gun and threw it on his window like an arrow and blasted his window,” Aziz said (via the Daily Mail). “The windshield shattered, that’s why he got scared.”
The Muslim worshiper said Tarrant then drove away. Aziz continued to give chase as the attacker sped away, and police were able to apprehend him a short time later.
Abdul Aziz said he felt no fear when confronting the gunman, and does not see himself as a hero. He believes that God was watching over him and that it was not his time to die.
Aziz’s actions likely saved many lives. Authorities in New Zealand said Tarrant killed 41 people in an initial attack at the Al Noor mosque, then drove to Linwood where he killed seven more people and was getting a new weapon to kill more at the time Aziz attacked him.
Abdul Aziz is being hailed as a hero for preventing more deaths. https://t.co/H42KoVViVT— CBC Toronto (@CBCToronto) March 16, 2019
Abdul Aziz is not the only person being hailed as a hero in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand’s history. Other stories of heroism have emerged, including Daoud Nabi, a 71-year-old grandfather who witnesses said died as he threw his body over other victims to shield them from the gunfire.