Unarmed Worshipper Who Rushed Christchurch Gunman Praised: ‘People Will Publicize the Villain—Let's Remember the Heroes Instead’

After the mass shooting that killed at least 49 worshippers inside two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, social media users praised one unarmed victim who ran out to confront the shooter.

Many of the deaths were beamed out live on social media by the shooter from a bodycam, and the graphic footage shows the gunman, identified as Brenton Tarrant in Australian media and described by officials in New Zealand as a 28-year-old white male of Australian origin, as he dealt out death at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch. The Associated Press reported 30 worshippers were killed at the one mosque.

Seven minutes into the 17-minute  Facebook video, the gunman is rushed by an unarmed worshipper who appears to have been killed in his attempt to end the carnage. While it is not clear what happened to the man, he was able to tackle the shooter to the ground. The gunman may have shot him as he made contact, and the worshipper is seen falling to the ground. The gunman then turns as he stands up and shoots the worshipper's apparently lifeless body at point-blank range.

Social media users have saluted the unknown man’s attempts to end the shooting. “Halfway through the New Zealand shooting, as dozens around him lay dead, a single unarmed worshipper rushed the shooter, doing whatever he could to make him stop. Some people will publicize the villain. Let's remember the heroes instead,” broadcast journalist Muhammad Lila wrote on Twitter.

“Shoutout to the guy that ran full speed and tried to tackle the shooter,” one Twitter user wrote. “You are a hero man! Rest In Peace,” they added.  



“During the attack in New Zealand, a brother was seen running toward the attacker and it looks like he was trying to stop him. The terrorist was armed with an assault rifle, the brother was unarmed,” another Twitter user wrote. “He died a hero.” 

Reuters reported that Facebook and Twitter have been working to remove content involving the mass shooting. "Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced, and we quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video," Facebook said in a tweet.

"We're also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware."

In a statement, Twitter said it had "rigorous processes and a dedicated team in place for managing exigent and emergency situations" like the shooting in New Zealand. "We also cooperate with law enforcement to facilitate their investigations as required," the social media platform added.

GettyImages-1130598088 An image from TV New Zealand taken on March 15 shows armed New Zealand special forces arriving outside the mosque following a shooting in Christchurch. LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/Getty Images

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