March 15, 2019 14:49:01
Witnesses say the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch was so quiet “you could hear a pin drop” during Friday prayers — but then the silence was shattered by automatic gunfire as a man burst in and started murdering worshippers.
A man in a wheelchair who was at the mosque during the incident told news outlet TVNZ that he had not seen his wife who was also inside the mosque this morning.
“It was very peaceful, calm and quiet, as it is when the sermon starts, [you could hear] a pin drop,” he said.
“Then suddenly the shooting started. It started in the main room.
“I was in the side room, so I didn’t see who was shooting but I saw that some people were running out to my room where I was in, I saw some people had blood on their body and some people were limping. It was at the moment I realised things were really serious.
“So I tried to get out and I pushed myself at the back where my car was, and from there I heard the shooting, it went on six minutes or more.
“I could hear screaming and crying, I saw some people drop dead, some people were running away.
“I was in a wheelchair, so I couldn’t get anywhere. He did his massacre inside the mosque.”
Another witness, Len Peneha, who has lived next door to the mosque for about five years, said he saw a man dressed in black enter the mosque at about 1:45pm and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.
He said the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon in his driveway, and fled.
“I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque.
“It’s unbelievably nutty. I don’t understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It’s ridiculous.”
Janine Richmond, who lives near the mosque, said she heard about 20 gunshots.
“It started off quite slowly and then got very rapid,” she told New Zealand media.
March 15, 2019 14:47:54