Lateef Alabi who is the Linwood mosque’s acting Imam was leading the congregation in prayers on the fateful day when terrorist Brenton Tarrant struck.
Alabi said the death toll would have been far higher at the mosque but for a worshipper, Abdul Aziz, 48, who grabbed Tarrant’s gun and forced him away from a mosque.
Aziz’s action terminated the killing spree.
Alabi said he heard a voice outside the mosque at about 1.55pm and stopped the prayer he was leading and looked out the window, the London Mail reported yesterday.
He saw a man in black military-style gear and a helmet holding a large gun and assumed it was a police officer.
“I realised this is something else. This is a killer,” Alabi said and shouted at the congregation of more than 80 people to get down.
They hesitated only for a shot to be fired by Tarrant, shattering a window and felling a worshipper.
That what when it dawned on the congregation that they were under attack.
“Then this brother came over,” he said of the moment Aziz could no longer bear the unfolding scenario.
“He (Aziz) went after him, and he managed to overpower him, and that’s how we were saved.
“Otherwise, if he managed to come into the mosque, then we would all probably be gone.”
Aziz, the man who stood up to the terrorist is being hailed a hero for preventing more deaths at the Linwood mosque, although he says he is not one.
He thinks it is what anyone would have done.
At least 49 people were killed after Tarrant allegedly attacked two mosques in the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand since 1983.