A man who survived the massacre at Deans Ave says he saw a man resembling the murder accused outside the mosque a week before the shooting.

"I saw him before one week walking on the footpath outside [the] Deans [Ave] mosque," Nasim Khan told the Herald.

"He was dressed like a construction worker. He looked at me.

"We just ignored that."


Khan's sister, Nasreen Khanam, also saw a man resembling the alleged gunman outside the mosque on Linwood Ave about a week ago. The man looked at her, but she forced herself to get out of her car and go into the nearby McDonald's to retrieve her daughter, who was working there.

Nasim Khan saw a man resembling the accused gunman outside the Masjid Al Noor a week before the shooting. Photo / Michael Craig
Nasim Khan saw a man resembling the accused gunman outside the Masjid Al Noor a week before the shooting. Photo / Michael Craig

"He looked at me ... and I felt really uncomfortable inside so quickly I went into my car. [But if] mommy feels unsafe, how my daughter will feel?" Khanam said.

"So I got my daughter and then got out of there."

The accused has not entered a plea on one charge of murder. He has been remanded in custody and is expected to face further charges.

Khan, who moved to New Zealand from Bangladesh in 1995, was in the mosque on Deans Ave when the shooting started on Friday, but was luckily sitting in a corner room by an exit.

He left the mosque not because he thought someone was firing a gun, but because he thought there was an electrical short circuit.

"I thought maybe it was a short circuit, because the bullets went tak-tak-tak-tak-tak-tak. When I feel like short-circuit, I feel like I need to move from there."

When he realised the horrific reality of what was happening, he hid in the car park. When he finally went back inside, he was confronted with a scene that has since given him nightmares.


"People screaming, a lot of people still alive, and they're under dead bodies.

"I moved the dead bodies from the live people, tried to give water ... people asking for water, water, water."

He then found his friend Farid Ahmed, who was in a wheelchair.

"His face was pale. I told him, 'No problem. I'm not leaving you. I'm not moving from here. I will die with you. Don't panic.'"

He said he waited with Ahmed until police arrived and helped them out of the mosque.

Even though Khan knew most the people who lost their lives in the terrorist attack, he believed it was the nature of the Muslim faith to forgive the gunman.

"Forgive him. This is the message from all of us.

"He attacked not the Muslim place. He attacked humanity."

Farid Ahmed has also forgiven the gunman.

Khan has struggled to sleep since Friday, saying he keeps hearing the screaming.

But he is not afraid to return to the mosque.

"No problem. If I will die, I will die. One day, we all will die."

A spokesperson for police said: "We encourage anyone with information which may be relevant to the horrific events of Friday to contact police. It is very important that we have all available information to assist the investigation team. If you are not sure if your information is relevant then please tell police anyway and let us make that assessment."