Saturday, May 25th, 2019

Dead, injured and missing: Christchurch shooting victims

Fifty people have died and 50 more were injured in shootings in two Christchurch mosques on Friday. Two of the injured remain in a critical condition.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, faced court on Saturday charged with one count of murder. More charges are expected to follow.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon says the airline is devastated to lose their workmate, who was with the engineering team for 16 years.

“Lilik, his wife Nina and their children Zhania and Gerin are well known and loved by our close-knit team of engineers and their families, who are now doing all they can to support the family alongside our leadership team and the airline’s special assistance team,” he said.

“Our thoughts are with them and their family and friends as they come to terms with this terrible loss.”

Six victims are Pakistani

The names of the victims are slowly emerging.

Earlier on Sunday, the general secretary for the Pakistan Association of NZ confirmed six victims were Pakistanis.

Three people, including a four-year-old boy, are among the missing. Police haven’t been able to confirm if they are some of the unidentified bodies.

New Zealand sportsman Atta Elayyan

Atta Elayyan has been named as one of the victims of the Christchurch massacre. 

Atta Elayyan, 33, the goalkeeper for the national and Canterbury men’s futsal teams, was among those shot by the gunman as he prayed.

The Palestinian man, who was born in Kuwait, recently became a father and was a popular member of the Christchurch tech industry. Mr Elayyan was a director and shareholder of a company called LWA Solutions.

Retired engineer Ali Elmadani

Ali Elmadani has been named as one of the victims on the Christchurch shooting. 

The daughter of retired Christchurch engineer Ali Elmadani has confirmed he was killed while worshipping at the Al Noor mosque in Deans Avenue.

Maha Elmadani has returned to New Zealand where her mother and younger brother are mourning.

“He considered New Zealand home and never thought something like this would happen here,” she said. “[My mother} is staying as strong as possible. My younger brother isn’t doing too well with the news.”

Mr Elmadani and his wife immigrated from the United Arab Emirates in 1998.

His daughter said her father had always said to be strong, so that was what she was trying to do.

“My dad always told us to be strong and patient so that’s what we are all trying to do. For his sake.”

Syrian refugee Khaled Mustafa

Syrian refugee Khaled Mustafa and his family thought they had found a haven from death and torture when they arrived in New Zealand only a few months ago.

But Mr Mustafa was killed while praying at the Deans Avenue mosque, Syrian Solidarity New Zealand spokesman Ali Akil said.

His son Hamza, who is about 16, is missing, and his son Zaid, who is about 13, is in Christchurch Hospital where he underwent a six-hour operation, Mr Akil said.

Mustafa’s wife and daughter, who were not at the mosque on Friday, were in “total shock, devastation and horror”, Mr Akil said.

They had “survived atrocities” in their home country and “arrived here in a safe haven only to be killed in the most atrocious way”.

“They were just looking for a safe place. Unfortunately we can’t claim that New Zealand is a safe place anymore,” he said.

Haji-Daoud Nabi


Haji-Daoud Nabi, 71, was shot as he tried to shield another person from the gunman at the Deans Avenue mosque, his son Omar Nabi said. His father ran the Afghan Association.

Speaking outside the High Court in Christchurch, Mr Nabi said: “I got told by my best friend’s father … that he leaped on somebody else to save their life.

“He jumped in the firing line to save somebody else’s life and he has passed away.”

Mr Nabi, who is 43 and lives with his parents, said he did not know what had happened to the person his father had tried to save.

Asked how he felt about his father’s sacrifice, he said: “Just helping people is his main thing. It makes me feel like he wanted other people to live.

“To die in the Masjid, to die in the mosque, if something like this happens the golden gates open for you.”

He last saw his father at breakfast on Friday morning. Mr Nabi was due to attend the prayers on Friday but was unable to go.

Following the shooting he tried calling his father several times but could not get hold of him. About 4.30am on Saturday, he was told his father had not made it out of the mosque alive.

He said he could use a million words to describe his father.

“He was a man with a lot of talents … and wisdom he shared to use as life skills. He’s a very humble man who has helped a lot of people.”

Three-year-old boy feared dead

Three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim is missing after the Christchurch

The brother of a three-year-old boy feared dead in the Christchurch terror attack says he feels “hatred” for the man responsible.

Abdi Ibrahim was at the Deans Avenue mosque with his father and three-year-old brother, Mucad Ibrahim, when the shooting started.

He got out of the mosque as fast as he could, while his father pretended he was dead after he was shot, then fled. No one has seen Mucad since the shooting, his brother said.

The family had been to Christchurch Hospital and looked through the list of people there. His little brother was nowhere to be seen.

“We’re most likely thinking he’s one of the people who has died at the mosque … at this stage everyone’s saying he’s dead,” he said.

Mucad was “energetic, playful and liked to smile and laugh a lot”, Abdi Ibrahim said.

Fears for Cashmere teen

Sayyad Milne, 14, was a “a regular, typical, Kiwi kid”.

Sayyad Milne, 14, is still missing after the Christchurch attack.

The year 10 Cashmere High School student was in the Al Noor mosque for Friday prayers when the attack started. His family is still waiting for official news.

Brydie Henry, Sayyad’s half sister, said their father, John Milne, told her that Sayyad was last seen “lying on the floor of the bloody mosque, bleeding from his lower body”.

Sayyad’s mother, Noraini, was also in the mosque but managed to escape. The teenager has two other siblings, 15-year-old twins Shuayb and Cahaya.

“They’re all at home just waiting. They’re just waiting and they don’t know what to do,” Tauranga-based Henry said. “Their thoughts are it’s not good news. They’re very worried.”

Henry described Sayyad as an “all-round good guy”, a sporty teenager who played football and futsal soccer.

Hussain Al-Umari

Hussain Al-Umari (left) pictured with his mother Janna Ezat. Hussain is feared

Aya Al-Umari was clinging to hope that her older brother was still alive. On Sunday, the family received the worst-possible news.

Hussain Al-Umari’s family hadn’t heard from him since a gunman entered the Al-Noor Mosque shortly after 1.30pm. Hussain, 35, was a regular at the mosque.

Aya and her parents spent hours at Christchurch Hospital on Friday night, hoping they would learn he was among the injured.

When the names of those being treated there were read out about 3am on Saturday, Hussain’s wasn’t one of them. His family had registered him as missing.

On Sunday morning, his mother, Ms Ezat, announced on social media he had died.

“It is with great sorrow we came to know our son Hussein Pasha Al-Umari is a martyr,” the post said.

“Our son was full of life and always put the needs of others in front of his.”

Ezat wrote her son was on the praying mat when the shooting began.

“We will miss you, in our hearts you will always stay, loved and remembered every day.”

Al-Umari’s sister, Aya, told Stuff on Saturday the family was still clinging to hope.

“We are just praying and trying to be patient,” she said.

Hussein’s family moved to New Zealand from the United Arab Emirates 22 years ago.

He had dinner with his parents on Thursday night. On Friday, after the shooting, they searched everywhere for him without luck. His car was not at his house.

On Friday night, his parents – Janna Ezat, who’s renowned as an artist overseas, and Hazim Al-Umari – visited the police cordon hoping to find out what had happened to their son.

They were comforted by the fact it was a “holy Friday” and if he was dead “he will be safe with God”.

They said Hussain had worked in the travel industry and had recently lost his job.

Desperate wait for news

Two Cashmere High School students, brothers Zaid and Hamza Mustafa, were injured in the shooting and taken to hospital.

Amir Yasir saw the shooter leave the Deans Avenue mosque and told his father, Muhammad Amin Nasir, to run.

They both fled, but Mr Nasir was shot. Surgeons later removed three bullets from his body and were optimistic about his prospects, his son said.

Mr Nasir is believed to be the last person shot by the gunman in the Deans Avenue area.

Amna Ali last spoke to her husband, Syed Jahandad Ali, on Friday morning and has not heard from him since. One of his colleagues told her they had left work at 1pm on Friday to head to the mosque.

Syed Jahandad Ali’s wife says he’s missing after the shooting at the Deans Ave mosque in Christchurch.

Zuhair Darwish’s brother, Kamel Darwish, attended the mosque during the shooting and is missing.

Muslim Association pioneer feared dead

One of the pioneers of the Muslim Association of Canterbury is among those feared dead.

Abdelfattah Qasem, 59, the association’s former secretary, has not been seen since a gunman entered the Al Noor Mosque.

Qasem, who was born in Palestine, was considered an elder of the Muslim community in Christchurch.

Stuff has spoken to people who were in the mosque during the shooting and saw him gravely injured.

Muslim Association of Canterbury president Shagaf Khan said on Saturday afternoon that police had yet to provide a list of those whose bodies remained at the mosque.

Red Cross has started a missing persons list.

There are dozens of people listed as missing from an array of countries, including India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Jordan and Pakistan.

Robyn Grace is a journalist at The Age.