Abdul Aziz was praying at Linwood mosque in the quiet New Zealand city on Friday with his four sons when he heard gunshots outside. The gunman killed 49 people after attacking two mosques in the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand's modern history.
Mr Aziz said he could hear his two youngest sons pleading with him to come back inside as he hurled the machine at the attacker who had returned to his vehicle to get another gun.
Mr Aziz, 48, has been praised for saving many people inside by leading the gunman on a cat-and-mouse chase before scaring him into speeding away in his vehicle.
He is believed to have killed 41 people at the Al Noor mosque before driving about 5 kilometres across town and attacking the Linwood mosque, where he killed seven more people.
He added that one of his friends had died of his injuries and another is still in hospital.More news: Guardiola: We could cope with transfer ban
A new disturbing photo captures the moment a blood-soaked survivor of Friday morning's New Zealand mosque shooting walked away from the horrific scene.
Latef Alabi, the Linwood mosque's acting imam, said the death toll would have been far higher at the Linwood mosque if it wasn't for Mr Aziz's actions.
The killer came back and opened fire but wasn't able to get a clean shot as Aziz ran through cars parked in the driveway. He saw a man dressed in black military-style gear and a helmet holding a large gun. Then he saw two bodies and heard the gunman yelling obscenities. Then realised oh, this must be something else.
Anwar hid in a bathroom and tried to call emergency services as shots rang out, telling stuff.co.nz he heard the gunman say an expletive about Muslims and "We're going to kill you today".
Alabi said he told worshippers to duck down and then described how he and a "brother" made a decision to confront the attacker during a lull in the gunfire.More news: Anne Arundel County man charged in pelican tackling case
So Lateef's unnamed fellow worshipper seized the initiative and grabbed the rifle, following the attacker to his auto and using it to smash the vehicle's back window before running away.
The windshield shattered, Mr Aziz said.
Suspect Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, has appeared in court charged with one murder over the shootings.
Mourners pay their respects at a makeshift memorial near the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, March 16, 2019. "He went after him, and he managed to overpower him, and that's how we were saved", Mr Alabi said, referring to Mr Aziz.
Aziz, who's originally from Afghanistan, said he left his home country as a refugee at an early age and lived in Australia for 25 years before moving to New Zealand just a couple years ago.More news: Chinese Slowdown Deepens: Industrial Output at 17-Year Low
"I'm very sad for what has happened but I believe this country is a peaceful country and I hope something good will happen after this", he said, fighting back tears.