New Zealand mosque shooting: Eyewitnesses share horrifying details of the attack 'I could see blood everywhere and bodies lying dead'
The police have confirmed that the gunman, identified as 28-year-old Australian national Brenton Tarrant, was using a semiautomatic weapon. The attack killed 49 people so far.
Eyewitnesses who were present at the New Zealand mosque massacre that took place on Friday have revealed what they saw as the horrifying attack claimed the lives of people around them, one after the other. A trader who was passing by one of the mosques that were attacked, Masjid Al Noor, told Radio New Zealand that he witnessed the "people running for their lives" and that he heard "rapid fire" from a semiautomatic weapon. The police have confirmed that the gunman, believed to be 28-year-old Australian national Brenton Tarrant, was using a semiautomatic weapon.
"We saw these people hit the ground, they were being shot in front of us," he said. The eyewitness was with a colleague and he said that people were reportedly nursing victims on the footpath. "There was one little girl, probably about five, she’d been shot and her father," he said. The trader and his colleague decided to help the girl, they told the publication. "We managed to get the five-year-old on the back of one of the vehicles before the ambulance came, she was critical,” he said. The little girl's father, however, passed away. "The man passed away in his (colleague’s) arms. It was surreal."
He said that the two eyewitnesses stayed at the area for more than an hour even at the time that the shooters hadn't been arrested. "The shooter came out chasing people running away. While my worker was nursing one of the victims there was more shots inside the mosque. We were very vulnerable but in a situation like that you don’t think about yourself," he said.
Another eyewitness told the publication that he saw the gunman enter the gates of Masjid Al Noor. He described the gunman as a short man wearing a helmet and glasses who had his face covered. He was reportedly carrying an assault rifle that could have been an M16, the witness said. He also added that the gun had white writing on the barrel. When he asked the man "what are you doing?" he is said to have not received a word in reply.
The man only went ahead and opened fire at everyone as they were taking their footwear off at the entrance of the mosque. The witness saw five people being killed, which also included a small boy of five. He said that the shooting went on for about 20 minutes.
300 people were present at the mosque at the time, the eyewitness said and that people were scrambling for places to hide. He also said that he saw at least 30 to 50 people lying on the ground. "Bullets were all around the shooter as he shot. All of them were shot down — all of them. I’ve seen five people dead."
Shoaib Gani, who was at the Friday prayers at the Linwood Islamic Center at the time of the shooting told LBC how he played dead to avoid being shot. Speaking to the outlet he explained how a masked gunman with "welcome to hell" written on his rifle, opened fire on Muslims who were praying."I was in the middle of the prayers when I heard multiple gunshots outside the mosque. One of the brothers tried to look outside to see what happened and shouted that someone was shooting. Suddenly, there were gunshots coming through the window, shooting one of the guys standing right next to me. Then everybody fell on the ground and tried to protect themselves. I saw multiple gunshots and people lying dead. I saw one of the men's brain out on the floor."
"I tried to crawl to the corner and I could still hear gunshots being fired to the back of the door. I saw women and children crying, getting shot."I called the police and ambulance and they said that help was coming. But I could still hear gunshots. People were still getting shot. I could see it happening.
"I could see blood everywhere and bodies lying dead. People were calling for me to come into the corner to be safe, but I couldn't move because I thought that if I moved, he'd shoot me too. So I was acting dead."