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Witness to mosque massacre says 'hero' who assists worshipers leaped at killer, took away weapon

'He saw an opportunity'

Image source: Facebook video screenshot

A witness to one of the New Zealand mosque massacres Friday said a "hero" who assists worshipers "leaped" at the killer and took away his weapon, the NZ Herald reported.

Syed Mazharuddin told the outlet in a video interview that he was "standing and praying" at the Linwood mosque when he heard shots and "screaming." After he took cover, Mazharuddin said "this guy came into the main entrance door" wearing body armor with a helmet, vest, backpack and began shooting "indiscriminately."

"It's a small mosque — there were about 60, 70 people there," he noted, adding that "just around the entrance door there [were] old people sitting on the chairs and praying, and he started shooting at them."

Mazharuddin added to the NZ Herald that another woman was screaming for help, and the attacker "shot point blank in her face."

A 'hero' emerges

Mazharuddin added to the outlet that a "young guy" who helps take care of the mosque and assists with parking took courageous action.

"He saw an opportunity and pounced over [the attacker] and grabbed his gun," Mazharuddin told the NZ Herald, adding that the attacker threw down other guns and ran.

"The hero tried to chase, and he couldn't find the trigger ... he ran behind him," Mazharuddin added to the outlet of the young hero, noting that a vehicle was waiting for the attacker and it sped off.

Mazharuddin told the NZ Herald that one of his friends was shot in the forehead and died, and he believes another friend "must have died" after he saw him "bleeding heavily."

'One of most peaceful places I've found'

Mazharuddin told the outlet he arrived in New Zealand in 2013 and after travels all over the world told friends that the "inclusive" country is "one most peaceful places I've found" — and that it's also "one of the safest" places "on earth."

Most of the victims killed — 41 — were worshiping at the Al Noor Mosque, seven were killed at the Linwood Mosque three miles away, and one person died on the way to a hospital, NPR reported, adding that 48 have been hospitalized as a result of the attack.

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