Christchurch shooting: Dramatic armed police arrest after mosque attack

One gunman had spare magazines strapped to his legs and was wearing a military style vest, survivors say

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Police officers pursuing the gunmen suspected of killing dozens in two Christchurch mosques rammed a vehicle off the road and physically tackled one man to the ground, witness footage shows.

A video appears to show one officer striking one suspect with his gun to take him alive.

The police vehicle had apparently driven into the side of the suspects' grey estate and forced it up onto the curb, its front wheels still spinning in the air.

An officer is shown reaching into the car and dragging a person out as the second officer kept their gun drawn.

As the suspect was dragged from the car, one of the officers appeared to strike the person with their handgun, said the New Zealand Herald, which described the officer as a 'hero'.

Nearby, Christchurch resident James Dann said he was in the city centre when the police told crowds to leave immediately.

He later returned home to find police nearby, surrounding the car police had identified as having the explosive device.

"I was in the square with thousands of others at the student's climate march. It was starting to wind down, but there were still hundreds of school kids around when the police started telling them to dissipate, saying that something had happened. I checked Twitter and saw that there was an 'incident'," he told The National.

A police car blocks the car of a suspect following shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand March 15, 2019, in this still image obtained from a social media video. Courtesy of Twitter @ROBERT22041432/Social Media via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT “TWITTER / @ROBERT22041432”. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
The police car appears to have driven a suspect off the road.

"No one really knew what was going on - not even the police really. We had no idea how serious it was. We knew the schools were on lock down.

"I made my way home down Colombo St, through crawling traffic. As I got to Brougham St, I could see to my right that there was more police activity. I found out later it was the Subaru that the police had rammed off the road, which was carrying a car bomb."

In other developments, a resident who lives close to Al Noor Mosque told of how he took in a dozen worshippers and a boy aged about three as they fled the shooting.

Robert Weatherhead told the Herald he tried to help three people who had been shot.

"One man had been shot twice - once in the abdomen and once in the shoulder ... he was conscious," he said.

The survivors described a white man aged in his 30s or 40s and who had a lot of magazines strapped to his legs, Mr Weatherhead said.

"He was in a uniform but I haven't been able to find out what kind. He had a vest on as well," he said.