NZ special forces responded to mosque shooting while at military event

Special forces spring into action using civilian rental vehicles to hunt for the gunman

News Desk March 18, 2019
When the mosque massacre unfolded on Friday, NZSAS snipers as well as other foreign sharpshooters were sprung into action to protect the public in Christchurch. PHOTO COURTESY: NZHerald

Snipers from New Zealand's Special Air Service (NZSAS) took to the streets to help hunt the rampaging mosque shooter while in Christchurch for a military event following the mosque terror attack on Friday, The Herald reported.

According to reports, professional snipers from New Zealand, Australia and some Asian countries were at the Defence Force shooting range at West Melton, 25kms west of Christchurch when the terror attack unfolded.

As soon as the news spread of the attack, NZSAS soldiers sprung into action and were reportedly granted special powers to take up arms in order to protect the public.

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Pictures show the soldiers with weapons and balaclavas covering their faces near the Al Noor Mosque - one of two locations the gunman stormed in during Friday prayer killing more than 50 people.

A soldier was also photographed with a sniper rifle outside the Deans Ave mosque.

Armed to the teeth, these soldiers were seen travelling in civilian rental vehicles with the city police.

The two police officers who finally apprehended the shooter were also in town on a training session. They joined the hunt after hearing there was an active shooter on the loose.

They were driving on Brougham Street where they finally spotted someone who matched the police description and ploughed into his car from the driver's side, knocking the car out of action.

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Footage later showed the officers dragging him out of the passenger side.

"I was surprised how calm and collected they were," said their boss, rural response manager Senior Sergeant Pete Stills.

"They wouldn't have been scared, we practice for this stuff - to be honest, it was lucky two officers with that amount of service and experience were there."

Footage of the arrest has been widely shared on social media.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush hailed the two officers as heroes and said that without their brave actions, it was likely more people would have been killed.