New Zealand mosque shooting: Man escapes gunman's hail of bullets inside only to find wife dead outside
The man managed to escape but was tragically greeted by the body of his dead wife lying across a footpath outside
The attacks at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre by suspected gunman Brenton Tarrant, 27, has left at least 49 dead and 20 others injured. One man who was praying at Al Noor managed to escape the hail of bullets, only to then find his wife lying dead outside.
According to the Sydney Herald, the man was praying at the mosque when he heard the shooting start. He managed to escape but was tragically greeted by the body of his dead wife lying across a footpath outside. "My wife is dead," he wailed, unable to hold back his tears. He was supported by other Muslim men who prayed for him.
There were several other distressing stories emerging from the scene of the massacre. Another man who witnessed the attack said he had seen children being shot and killed and that there were "bodies all over me," while a neighbor who lived in the area said she had heard "hundreds" of shots and that it was "terrifying."
A nearby business owner similarly said he heard "20 or more gunshots" and that he saw people running away from the mosque.
The sights were just as gruesome at the Linwood Islamic Centre as well. Citing Syed Ahmed, a witness, the Syndey Herald reported that a man wearing a black motorcycle helmet and camouflage clothing carrying a black assault rifle with white writing started "indiscriminately" shooting at the victims.
Ahmed explained that the man came in through the front door "shouting something" and that he kept "low on the ground" and crawled to the storeroom to escape. He said he first shot several elderly people sitting on chairs during a prayer, and that he thought at least eight people had been shot, including at least three women and two of his friends.
Another witness, Farhaan Farheez told Stuff, he was praying with close to 100 others in the mosque when the shooting started. "I didn't know what a gun sounded like," he said. " It is customary when we are praying not to pay attention to the outside world ... Gunshots kept happening and people kept praying. I saw two females and four or five males dead and the rest were severe casualties ... The whole mosque was filled with blood and dead bodies. It was like a battlefield."
Following the attacks on the mosques, it was reported that there was also a shooting at Christchurch Hospital, where several victims of the shootings had been transported to for treatment. While that ultimately proved to be a false alarm, the Civil Aviation Authority declared Christchurch City a controlled air space and a shutdown of all schools in the city was ordered.
NZ Police Commissioner Mike Bush said four people, three men and a woman, had been arrested in connection with the shootings, and that one of those men who was in their twenties was charged with murder. He is reportedly scheduled to appear in court to face his charges on Saturday.