Hero saved lives by tackling gunman inside Al Noor, court hears

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 24 Aug 2020, 2:11PM
Flower tributes at Christchurch Botanic Gardens. (Photo / Michael Craig)
Flower tributes at Christchurch Botanic Gardens. (Photo / Michael Craig)

Hero saved lives by tackling gunman inside Al Noor, court hears

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 24 Aug 2020, 2:11PM

GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS DETAILS WHICH READERS MIGHT FIND UPSETTING

A victim of the Christchurch terror attacks saved lives by tackling the rampaging gunman before he was shot dead.

Naeem Rashid, 50, ran at Brenton Harrison Tarrant as he methodically murdered people inside Masjid Al Noor mosque on March 15 last year.

Rashid's bravery was revealed in the Crown summary of facts – the official narrative of events – on the first day of Tarrant's sentencing at the High Court in Christchurch.

As fellow worshippers fell dead and wounded around him, Rashid ran at Tarrant from the southeastern corner of Al Noor's main prayer room where at least 120 people were gathered.

Rashid was about 1m from Tarrant when he swung the AR-15 gun around and fired four shots at point blank range with one shot hitting Rashid's left shoulder.

Rashid crashed into the gunman, sending him down to one knee.

The impact dislodged one of the ammunition magazines from his tactical vest.

Rashid lay on his back and in an attempt to shield his body pulled his arms and knees up to his chest. Tarrant fired at him, the summary says.

The shooter got up, withdrew a few steps and fired a further three aimed shots at Rashid, hitting him in the chest, hand and arm. Rashid remained in that position and was later pronounced dead at the scene.

"Mr Rashid's actions allowed a number of other worshippers to escape," the summary says.

The killer reloaded and stepped over Rashid's body, walking back into the main prayer room.

He stood in the middle of the room and fired 32 rapid-aimed shots into the southeastern corner and then seven rapid-aimed shots into the northeastern corner.

"Both of these areas had many victims lying on the floor trying to hide or trying to escape through the single doorways," the summary says.

The sentencing hearing is ongoing and scheduled to last four days.

Tarrant initially pleaded not guilty to his offending but later changed his tune and admitted 51 charges of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one of engaging in a terrorist act laid under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.

He will be sentenced to life in prison.

- text by Anna Leask and Kurt Bayer, NZ Herald

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