As bullets rained down at Linwood mosque on Friday afternoon, Tofazzal Alam comforted a child who cried for help as his father was dying.

Between 60 and 70 people were reportedly in the mosque to pray when the gunman opened fire, spraying shots all over the room.

"The boy next to me, he was young, maybe 11, 12 years old and screaming to me, 'My father is dying, my father is dying'," Alam said.

"So I tried to hold him very strongly so that he also can stay down like myself and not get hurt because I saw people who were standing and screaming who got hurt."

Advertisement

The alleged gunman, Brenton Tarrant, is believed to have shot and killed seven people at the Linwood mosque after killing 43 at the Al Noor mosque.

Tofazzal Alam was in the Linwood Mosque at the time of the shootings and survived. Photo / Supplied
Tofazzal Alam was in the Linwood Mosque at the time of the shootings and survived. Photo / Supplied

Bullet shells, lifeless bodies and bloodstains were scattered throughout the Linwood mosque following the attack as the survivors wept for the dead.

Dead bodies could be seen outside the mosque as panic took over and people tried to understand what happened while checking on others, calling loved ones and emergency services.

Alam, originally from Bangladesh, moved to Auckland to study in 2014, eventually moving down to Christchurch in 2016 to complete his studies.

The 26-year-old goes to the Linwood mosque on Fridays to pray and mistook the sound of gunfire for the sound of a car crashing into another in the carpark.

"The whole driveway was fully parked so I thought someone had hit someone's car and they there fighting outside, I never thought it was a gunshot," Alam said.

A mourner placing flowers on a memorial to the victims of the terror attack across the road from the Linwood Mosque. Photo / Mark Mitchell
A mourner placing flowers on a memorial to the victims of the terror attack across the road from the Linwood Mosque. Photo / Mark Mitchell

"When I saw people lying down and blood everywhere, people screaming, then I understood someone is killing us, shooting towards us."

He was uninjured in the attack, however, a man beside him was shot in the forehead and Alam believed he had died, but was unsure.

Following the attack, the business and digital marketing graduate has been scared to leave the house but is thankful for the support from New Zealand.

He said the country has responded "very well" to the terror attack and the Muslim community had lost no love for Kiwis.

"We want to be together in this country with respect, peace and love, I think New Zealanders responded very well, they are lovely people," he told the Herald.

"People are really welcoming in New Zealand … sometimes something scary happens but not often but [I] never thought someone would be killed here.

Louise and Regan Tullett placing flowers from their wedding across the road from the Linwood Mosque. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Louise and Regan Tullett placing flowers from their wedding across the road from the Linwood Mosque. Photo / Mark Mitchell

"They love us and we love them. Everyone is trying to support each other so that it won't happen again in this country."

He ran towards the gunman armed with only a credit card machine

When the gunman advanced toward the mosque, killing those in his path, Abdul Aziz didn't hide.

Instead, he picked up the first thing he could find, a credit card machine, and ran outside screaming "Come here!"

Aziz, 48, is being hailed as a hero for preventing more deaths during Friday prayers at the Linwood mosque in Christchurch after leading the gunman in a cat-and-mouse chase before scaring him into speeding away in his car.

But Aziz, whose four sons and dozens of others remained in the mosque while he faced off with the gunman, says he thinks it's what anyone would have done.

The gunman killed 50 people after attacking two mosques in the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand's modern history.

The gunman is believed to have killed 41 people at the Al Noor mosque before driving about 5km across town and attacking people in the Linwood mosque, where he killed seven more people. One person died later in a hospital.

Abdul Aziz, survivor of mosque shooting. Photo / AP
Abdul Aziz, survivor of mosque shooting. Photo / AP

Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with one count of murder and a judge said that it was reasonable to assume more charges would follow.

Latef Alabi, the Linwood mosque's acting imam, said the death toll would have been far higher at the Linwood mosque if it wasn't for Aziz.

Alabi said he heard a voice outside the mosque about 1.55pm and stopped the prayer he was leading and peeked out the window. He saw a guy in black military-style gear and a helmet holding a large gun, and assumed it was a police officer. Then he saw two bodies and heard the gunman yelling obscenities.

"I realised this is something else. This is a killer," he said.

He yelled at the congregation of more than 80 to get down. They hesitated. A shot rang out, a window shattered and a body fell, and people began to realise it was for real.

"Then this brother came over. He went after him, and he managed to overpower him, and that's how we were saved," Alabi said, referring to Aziz. "Otherwise, if he managed to come into the mosque, then we would all probably be gone."

The Linwood Masjid Islamic centre and mosques. Photo / Google
The Linwood Masjid Islamic centre and mosques. Photo / Google

Aziz said as he ran outside screaming, he was hoping to distract the attacker. He said the gunman ran back to his car to get another gun, and Aziz hurled the credit card machine at him.

He said he could hear his two youngest sons, aged 11 and 5, urging him to come back inside.

The gunman returned, firing. Aziz said he ran, weaving through cars parked in the driveway, which prevented the gunman from getting a clean shot. Then Aziz spotted a gun the gunman had abandoned and picked it up, pointed it and squeezed the trigger. It was empty.

He said the gunman ran back to the car for a second time, likely to grab yet another weapon.

"He gets into his car and I just got the gun and threw it on his window like an arrow and blasted his window," he said.

The windshield shattered: "That's why he got scared."

He said the gunman was cursing at him, yelling that he was going to kill them all. But he drove away and Aziz said he chased the car down the street to a red light, before it made a U-turn and sped away. Online videos indicate police officers managed to force the car from the road and drag out the suspect soon after.

Originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, Aziz said he left as a refugee when he was a boy and lived for more than 25 years in Australia before moving to New Zealand a couple of years ago.

"I've been to a lot of countries and this is one of the beautiful ones," he said. And, he always thought, a peaceful one as well.

Aziz said he didn't feel fear or much of anything when facing the gunman. It was like he was on autopilot. And he believes that God, that Allah, didn't think it was his time to die.

- AP