Community members in Christchurch, New Zealand gathered in the midst of mass shootings that killed at least 49 worshipers in two of the city's neighborhoods. mosques to help the victims – including a 5-year-old girl – pending the arrival of first responders, reports reported Friday.
Residents told stories similar to New Zealand Herald to hear gunshots and see people running for their lives. There were no police or ambulances on the scene when the shooting started, so the workers and locals rushed to help as many casualties as the bullets continued to fly. inside the mosque, the newspaper reported.
"We heard rapid semi-automatic firing and we saw people coming out of the mosque, falling to the ground in front of us on the side of the road," said Carl Pomare, director of the agency for the Naki Labor Hire job. Herald from the stage outside the Masjid Al Noor mosque. "I told my classmate, 'We must do something.'
Pomare told the newspaper that he and his colleague had seen several bodies – including children – lying on the sidewalk when they surprised a girl and her father.
"A girl looked like about 5 years old, she was critical and her father had also been killed," he told her, "He was looking after her." We just think: "Come on, ambulance, go & # 39;. "
But Pomare and other members of the community knew they could not wait for an ambulance and quickly decided to put the child and his father in the back of an SUV and take them to a hospital themselves. reported the newspaper.
Another victim died in his colleague's arms while they were treating him for half an hour, Pomare told the newspaper.
Elsewhere in Christchurch, resident Zinzan Hawke reminded Herald how he was awakened by an explosion of gunfire and by a wounded Muslim man who had escaped from the Masjid Al Noor mosque and had fled to his home, nearby.
"I was panicked," Hawke told the newspaper.
Hawke said he and his three roommates acted quickly, calling an ambulance and police while applying pressure on the gunshot wound to the man's leg, the newspaper reported.
"It's just human nature to help someone in this situation," Hawke said.
New Zealand police said four people – three men and one woman – were in police custody as part of the "well-planned" terrorist attack. Thirty people were killed at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch, and seven others at the Linwood mosque. Three others died in front of the Linwood Mosque. Dozens of others were injured.
Mass shootings in New Zealand are extremely rare. The deadliest of modern history occurred in the small town of Aramoana in 1990, when gunman David Gray shot 13 people as a result of a dispute with a neighbour. Now the community has been shocked by Friday's mass shootings.
"I just can not believe it happened," said Pomare at the Herald. "We have exposed ourselves to risks, but in the spur of the moment, you do not think about your own safety, but about those bodies that lay ordinary people."
Associated Press contributed to this report.