Bangladesh cricket players hurry away from the scene of the mosque shooting. Twitter @Isam84
Bangladesh cricket players hurry away from the scene of the mosque shooting. Twitter @Isam84

Test team flees mosque shooting

MEMBERS of the Bangladesh cricket team were forced to flee from a Christchurch mosque after a man opened fire.

Multiple people have been killed after the gunman opened fire at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

Police have taken one person into custody after the gunman shot at worshippers as they gathered for Friday prayers.

The Bangladesh team was filmed making their way back to Hagley Oval on foot. The team is in the area for the third Test against New Zealand, starting on Saturday.

Opening batsman Tamim Iqbal tweeted "entire team got saved from active shooters. Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers."

Performance analyst Shrinivas Chandrasekeran, also on Twitter, said "Just escaped active shooters. Heartbeats pumping badly and panic everywhere."

Mario Villavarayen, a strength and conditioning coach with the team, said the players did not see the shooter but heard shots. He said they were shaken but unhurt.

"I spoke to one of them shortly after," Vllavarayen said. "They didn't see anything but heard gunshots. They were at the ground and just started running.

"The coaching staff were all at the hotel. The players just started running when they heard the shots."

Reports said the team is under lockdown in its dressing room at the stadium from which manager Khaled Mashud has remained in contact with officials from New Zealand Cricket and the Bangladesh Cricket Board.

"We are dealing with a very serious and tragic series of events in the Christchurch-Canterbury area," police chief Mike Bush said.

"They involve an active shooter. They involve multiple fatalities.

"We have one person in custody, but we are unsure if there are other people.

"The multiple fatalities are, as far as we know, at two locations. A mosque at Deans Ave and another mosque at Linwood Ave, Christchurch."

 

Armed police patrol outside a mosque in central Christchurch. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Armed police patrol outside a mosque in central Christchurch. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Armed police are deployed in the city at the Masjid Al Noor mosque where the shooting happened in Hagley Park at 1.40pm (NZT) on Friday and schools across the city have been locked down.

A witness with blood splatters across his shirt said the shooter changed magazines seven times after opening fire as the crowd gathered to pray ran for the door.

"He went to all the different [rooms] and he shot everyone," he said, saying he had laid under a bench to pretend he was dead.

Other witnesses described seeing several people covered in blood. Several hundred people were inside and witnesses reported seeing at least four people on the ground and "blood everywhere", according to Radio New Zealand. One man said the scene at the mosque was chaotic with as many as 40 people injured.

An assault rifle and what appears to be fuel containers in the Christchurch gunman's car. Picture: Supplied
An assault rifle and what appears to be fuel containers in the Christchurch gunman's car. Picture: Supplied

"I heard a big sound of the gun. And a second one, I ran. Lots of people were sitting on the floor. I ran behind the mosque," he said. 

"The floor. There's lots of blood on the floor, you can see when you go in."

The man, who did not give his name, said he saw four people including a woman on the floor but did not see the shooter.

Christchurch schools, the hospital and the city's university were in lockdown and residents have been told to remain indoors and report suspicious behaviour.

-With AP and AAP

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