WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
A tradesman who was driving past the Masjid Al Noor mosque where a gunman opened fire on hundreds of people inside has described the horrific scene that unfolded in front of them.
Carl Pomare told Radio New Zealand he saw “people running for their lives” and heard “rapid fire” from a semiautomatic weapon that sounded like fireworks going off.
“We saw these people hit the ground, they were being shot in front of us,” he said.
Mr. Pomare said he and others from Naki Labour Hire drove 100m up the road and formed a cordon at the southern end of Deans Avenue so other people could not enter the street before rushing straight to the victims to help.
He said with it taking 10 to 15 minutes for emergency services to arrive they had to spring into action.
“We saw them being shot. Being mowed down as they were running away,” he told Newstalk ZB.
“I said to my mate, ‘We need to do something’.”
He said they were nursing victims on the footpath amid the “absolute carnage”.
“There was one little girl, probably about five, she’d been shot, and her father,” he said.
“We managed to get the five-year-old on the back of one of the vehicles before the ambulance came, she was critical.
“We looked at it thinking we’ve got to get this little girl to the hospital now otherwise she’s going to die.
“My worker was nursing a guy who had been shot in the back three times for about half an hour, saying, ‘Hang in there buddy’. He passed away in my his arms.”
The contractors stayed for more than an hour, even when the shooter was still at large.
“The shooter came out chasing people running away,” he said.
“While my worker was nursing one of the victims there was more shots inside the mosque. It was a pretty scary situation because there were still other shots being fired at the time inside the mosque.
“We were very vulnerable but in a situation like that you don’t think about yourself.”
People who heard his interviews on social media described the men’s efforts as “incredible”.
‘THERE WERE BODIES ALL OVER ME’
Horrific eyewitness stories paint a disturbing picture of the behavior of the gunman who burst into one of the mosque’s in Christchurch and killed as many people as possible.
It’s still unclear how many people have been killed in sickening mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques, but those who saw what happened, say there was blood “everywhere” and described the gunman’s cold demeanor in chilling detail.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed at least 49 people have been killed at Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch and Linwood Masjid mosque. Another 48 people have been injured.
One person who saw the shooting at the Al Noor mosque described on Radio New Zealand what happened when the gunman entered the gates.
A former president of the mosque said a short man, wearing a helmet and glasses with his face covered entered the mosque.
He said the gunman was carrying an M16 or assault rifle with white writing on the barrel.
He asked the gunman “what are you doing?”, but added that “the man did not say a word”.
The gunman then opened fire at people as they took their shoes off at the mosque’s entrance.
He said five people were killed, including a five-year-old boy. He said the shooting lasted for about 20 minutes.
The eyewitness said about 300 people were in the mosque at the time. He said people tried to find places to hide and about 30 to 50 people were lying on the ground.
“Bullets were all around the shooter as he shot,” the witness said.
“All of them were shot down — all of them.”
“I’ve seen five people dead.”
He said some people were asleep during their prayers while others tried running.
One man at the same mosque told The Sydney Morning Herald he saw children being shot and added, “there were bodies all over me”.
The newspaper reported that one man escaped, only to see his wife lying dead on the footpath.
Another witness at Al Noor mosque with blood splatters across his shirt told AAP the shooter changed magazines seven times after opening fire as the crowd gathered to pray ran for the door.
“He went to all the different (rooms) and he shot everyone,” he said, saying he had laid under a bench to pretend he was dead.
Other witnesses described seeing several people covered in blood.
Several hundred people were inside and witnesses reported seeing at least four people on the ground and “blood everywhere”, according to Radio New Zealand.
Another man at the scene said it was chaotic, with as many as 40 people injured.
“I heard a big sound of the gun. And a second one, I ran. Lots of people were sitting on the floor. I ran behind the mosque,” he told TVNZ.
“The floor. There’s lots of blood on the floor, you can see when you go in.”
The man, who did not give his name, said he saw four people including a woman on the floor but did not see the shooter.
Christchurch schools, the hospital, and the city’s university are on lockdown and residents have been told to remain indoors and report suspicious behavior.
The Bangladesh cricket team, in Christchurch to play New Zealand on Saturday were in the vicinity and had been left shaken but uninjured, their coach told media.
At least one of the gunmen live streamed the shooting to social media, sharing the horrifying video to Facebook.
The chilling POV video, viewed by news.com.au and verified by Storyful, begins with a man in brown fingerless gloves driving through the streets of Christchurch towards the mosque.