The mother of a teenager who lost his life in the mass shooting at the Al-Noor Mosque — one of the two Christchurch mosques targeted by terrorist Brenton Tarrant during Friday prayers and where 43 were killed — has revealed she was on the phone with her son when he was shot.
According to the Stuff, Salwa Mustafa's 16-year-old son, Hamza, was praying at the mosque with his younger brother, 13-year-old Zaid, and father, 44-year-old Khaled, when the gunfire erupted, and he immediately called his mother. It would be the last time she would hear his voice.
"The Apple of His Mother's Eye" | Hamza Mustafa, 16, was JUST reported dead after being missing all of yesterday.— Khaled Beydoun (@KhaledBeydoun) March 17, 2019
His father, Khaled Hajj Hasan, was also killed in #ChristChurch. Pray for his mother, who lost both a husband and a son.#51Lives - FIFTY ONE. pic.twitter.com/YHSvsQPzE3
"He said, 'Mum there's someone come into the mosque and he's shooting us,'" she said. "He was running with his brother who had been shot in his leg. After that, I heard shooting and he screamed, and after that, I didn't hear him. I called 'Hamza, Hamza', and I can hear his little voice and after that it was quiet."
She said she tried to speak with Hamza for the next 22 minutes but to no avail. A little while later, her worst nightmare came true. "His phone was on, but I couldn't talk to him, after that someone picked up the phone and told me 'your son can't breathe, I think he's dead,'" she said.
Calling him the "most wonderful boy," Salwa said that "everyone loved Hamza" and that he was a "very caring, very polite" boy. "Everything good that you can imagine in this world was in my Hamza," she said.
Salwa's husband, who she described as a "very nice father and very caring person," died in the attack too, though luckily, Zaid survived and is currently recovering at the Christchurch Hospital. She said she broke the devastating news of Hamza's and Khaled's death to her son on Saturday morning.
As for the gunman, she said his fate would be in God's hands. "God will punish him, my son and my husband are in heaven now and we're going after them, we're going to follow them to the heavens," she said.
The shootings at Al-Noor and Linwood mosques left 50 dead and at least another 50 injured. The Daily Mail reported that a further 60 people still remain on the official missing persons' list and that 200 family members and friends were eagerly waiting for news of their loved ones.
The suspected gunman, 28-year-old Australian white supremacist Brenton Harrison Tarrant, has been charged with murder in connection with the mass shootings and appeared at the Christchurch District Court to face his charges on Saturday, March 16. He is scheduled to make his next appearance in court on April 5. Three others who were also arrested alongside Tarrant were not charged.