190317_Abdul Aziz
Afghan refugee and local resident Abdul Aziz (L), 48, speaks with a man who came to thank him for his bravery, during an interview with AFP in Christchurch on March 17, 2019, two days after he chased a gunman during a shooting incident at the Linwood Mosque in the city. Image Credit: AFP

Chirstchurch, New Zealand: As New Zealanders struggled to cope with the deadly mayhem in Christchurch, stories of heroism have emerged from the tragedy, including a worshiper who chased away the gunman armed only with a credit card machine.

Fifty people were killed on Friday and dozens more injured.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder in relation to the killings, and police have said he will face further charges.

But police and eyewitnesses say a second attack by the gunman was partly thwarted by Abdul Aziz, 48, who was born in Afghanistan.

Aziz said he charged at the shooter outside the Linwood mosque when someone shouted that a gunman had opened fire. The gunman had already killed dozens at the Al Noor mosque nearby, and on the streets.

“He had on army clothes. I wasn’t sure if he was the good guy or the bad guy. When he swore at me, I knew that he’s not the good guy,” Aziz told Reuters in an interview.

When Aziz, an Afghan refugee, saw a man brandishing a gun outside his mosque in Christchurch, he ran towards the attacker armed with the only weapon he could find — a hand-held credit card machine.

His weapon: A credit card machine

Seven people were killed when a white supremacist stormed Linwood Masjid — the second mosque he attacked on Friday — as worshippers knelt to pray.

But the death toll could have been much higher if not for the heroic actions of Aziz, whose efforts to distract and chase the gunman away have attracted widespread praise.

"You don't have much time to think, whatever you think of, you just do it, you know," Aziz told AFP, brushing off the "hero" tag as local Muslims gathered to thank him for saving relatives and friends.

Aziz and his four sons were worshipping at the mosque when they heard the loud cracks of a gun being fired outside the building.

Initially thinking someone was setting off firecrackers, Aziz became suspicious and ran out of the mosque, grabbing a small credit card processing device.

Outside, he was stunned to find an armed man wearing military-style fatigues.

Aziz hurled the machine at Tarrant and then ducked between several cars as the self-confessed fascist unleashed a barrage of shots at him.

When he see the gun in my hands, I don't know what happened, he dropped the gun and I chased him with my own gun... I managed to throw the gun on his car and smash the car window, and I could see he was a bit frightened.

- Abdul Aziz

Aziz then heard one of his sons call out, "Daddy, please come back inside!"

'Come on here'

Unhurt, Aziz picked up an empty shotgun that the gunman had discarded and shouted "come on here" repeatedly in an effort to draw him away from his sons and the other worshippers.

"When he see the gun in my hands, I don't know what happened, he dropped the gun and I chased him with my own gun... I managed to throw the gun on his car and smash the car window, and I could see he was a bit frightened."

Aziz kept chasing the attacker as he sped off in his car.

The 48-year-old then returned to the mosque where he was greeted by scenes of carnage.

Aziz, an Australian, moved Down Under as a child refugee. He lived in Sydney for almost three decades before moving to Christchurch a few years later.

He says he has nothing but contempt for the attacker.

"A lot of people tell him he is a gunman. But... a man never hurts anybody. He is not a man; he is a coward," Aziz said.