Christchurch [New Zealand] : The Bangladesh cricket team, currently in New Zealand for their third test with the Kiwis, narrowly escaped the active shooter situation at the Masjid Al Noor mosque here on Friday.
“Alhamdulillah Allah save us today while shooting in Christchurch in the mosque…we r extremely lucky…never want to see this thing happen again….pray for us,” Mushfiqur Rahim, the Test captain of the Bangladeshi cricket team tweeted.
The Bangladeshi players were barred from getting off their bus after which they ran through Hagley Park to the Oval, reports Cricinfo. They are currently under lockdown in their dressing room. The players were visibly distraught and they were seen asking passers-by to not go any further.
Meanwhile, reports have emerged that the perpetrator – believed to be a white man in his 30’s or 40’s – livestreamed the ghastly shooting on Facebook. Witnesses who escaped the shooting stated that the man had magazines strapped to his legs, according to local media.
The gunman reportedly stormed into the mosque and fired indiscriminately, while blocking the hallway so as to not let anybody escape.
He stopped several times to reload, before exiting the mosque through the front door and shooting at the cars passing by, reports The New Zealand Herald.
The shooter returned to a stationwagon to get more ammunition, before re-entering the mosque to check for survivors.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned the ‘unprecedented act of violence’ and confirmed that one person has been apprehended in connection with the shooting.
“This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days. It was an unprecedented act of violence. Police have apprehended a person, but I don’t have further details of him yet,” she said.
Reports have also emerged of a second shooting and a bomb scare at a second mosque.
Over 300 people were reportedly present inside the mosque for their Friday prayers. However, authorities are yet to confirm the casualty count.
Further information is awaited.