Father Of 4 Hailed As Hero After Chasing New Zealand Mosque Shooter

by Julie Scagell
Originally Published: 
Image via Getty Images/Anthony Wallace

Wahabzadah ran outside towards the shooter when shots rang out

As the world still mourns the unthinkable loss of life during the terror attack at the Linwood and Al Noor mosques in New Zealand, one story is emerging about the quick thinking of a father-of-four who likely saved countless lives.

Afghan-born Abdul Aziz Wahabzadah was praying with his kids inside the Linwood mosque in Christchurch when he heard gunfire. Wahabzadah told CNN he ran outside as soon as he heard the shots, grabbing an empty credit card reader on his way out.

“I just wanted to scare him so he doesn’t come inside,” he said of his actions. He said he ran after the gunman who was still located outside the mosque, throwing the card reader at him. “I saw a man with an army uniform and I say, ‘Who the hell are you?’ And he started swearing at me,” Wahabzadah continued. The gunman fired and missed him, and he began weaving through cars parked in the driveway. Wahabzadah then spotted a gun the shooter had dropped, picked it up and tried shooting but the chamber was empty.

He said the gunman walked back towards his car to likely get more weapons. “He gets into his car and I just got the gun and threw it on his window like an arrow and blasted his window,” Wahabzadah said, and the windshield shattered. “The gun I had in my hand, the shotgun, I just threw it at him like a spear at his window. His window blasted and he got really shocked – he thought I had shot at him or something,” he said.

Image via Getty Images/Anthony WALLACE

AFP/Getty Images

The gunman started to drive away and Wahabzadah chased him to a red light where he did a U-turn and sped away. Police apprehended him a short time later. He said during the chase in the parking lot he could hear two of his sons begging for him to come back inside.

The death toll of these terrorist attacks is now at 50. Eight people died after being shot at the Linwood mosque and 42 died at Al Noor. Had it not been for the actions of Wahabzadah, had the gunman made it into the mosque itself, the number would have been significantly higher.

Just before the shootings began, the killer’s manifesto was posted and lived streamed online. It named both mosques and was shared on Twitter and 8chan, a forum known for its message boards and propaganda from right-wing extremists.

When asked about the terrorist and his actions against dozens of innocent victims, Wahabzadah said, “He’s a coward. He thinks that he doesn’t have fear but he does have fear. I could see the fear in his eyes when he was running to his car. To come with a gun and start shooting people and killing people and thinking you’re a hero. No. You’ll never be a hero by killing people, you can be a hero by saving lives.”

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