The horrific shooting incident in Christchurch, New Zealand may have been much worse if it were not for the efforts of Abdul Aziz Wahabzadah, a father of four who staved off the attacker.
According to CNN, Wahabzadah was at the Linwood mosque with his four children when an assailant armed with two weapons sought to enter. Wahabzadah reportedly heard the sound of gunshots and ran outside to confront the shooter.
Acting quickly, Wahabzadah grabbed a credit card reader and attempted to scare the assailant from entering the building.
CNN reports he said he immediately saw a man wearing “army clothes” who was armed with guns and had a camera.
“I just wanted to scare him so he doesn’t come inside,” he said, per the report.
Wahabzadah went on to say that when he threw the small machine and struck the assailant. The assailant then dropped one of the guns—which Wahabzadah described was a shotgun—and fled into the parking lot.
The gunman couldn’t get a good angle on Wahabzadah, he said, because Wahabzadah was ducking between cars and a fence.
Thinking the shooter was going to a car to get more weapons, Wahabzadah said he picked up the dropped gun, ran after the man and tried to pull the trigger, but realized the gun was empty.
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“When he sees me … chasing with a gun, he sat in his car,” Wahabzadah said. “And I just got the gun and throw it on his window like an arrow and blast his window. And he thought probably I shot him or something and … he drove off.”
Wahabzadah didn’t stop there. He said he continued chasing the shooter, who did a U-turn and raced off. It was then that Wahabzadah says he returned to the mosque to discover the scope of the violence.
Wahabzadah’s efforts help stave off the attacker who previously killed 42 people at the Al Noor Mosque. Eight people died at the Linwood mosque.
“Latef Alabi, the imam at Linwood, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that were it not for Wahabzadah’s actions, the death toll would have been higher,” CNN reports.
Wahabzadah was quickly praised as a hero for his actions, but he claims he was just doing what anyone would have done in that situation. He also credited God for his bravery.
“I promise you I wasn’t frightened or anything,” Wahabzadah said. “I was doing my job. If anyone was there in that situation (they) would do the same thing as I did.”
“I got to be honest with you, it wasn’t me, it was God that saved everybody. God saved everyone,” he continued.