How the Christchurch killer was apprehended

NZ Herald has what they say is exclusive information about how the person deemed responsible for the Christchurch mosque massacres was apprehended.

NZH: Christchurch mosque shootings: Police reveal how they caught the alleged gunman

The Herald has exclusive details about how the officers, after hearing there was an active shooter on the loose in the city, took to the streets to find him – and stop him.

The officers, who the Herald has agreed not to name, are both based in smaller towns out of Christchurch.

That town has been named in other media coverage.

Their boss rural response manager Senior Sergeant Pete Stills said the pair had travelled into Christchurch to attend a training session at Princess Margaret Hospital in Cashmere.

The training was held on a disused floor of the hospital and was around room clearance and dealing with offenders in armed incidents.

“They were actually training when the call came through that there was an active armed offender in Christchurch,” Stills told the Herald.

“They had their work vehicles there with them with firearms in them.

“They operationalised themselves and got into one car, they decided to skirt the city, they thought that’s what the offender would do – rather than drive through the CBD.

“They were driving on Brougham Street because they thought if he’d just been to Linwood [the second mosque attacked] that’s a route he might take.”

Moments later they spotted a suspicious car.

“They saw someone fitting the description of the offender coming towards them,” Stills said.

“The car was weaving in and out of lanes with its hazard lights on.

“They confirmed the rego, that it was the right car, and did a U-turn.”

Stills said the officers have more than 40 years of policing between them and had the experience to handle the situation.

“They were trying to catch up with him, they were discussing tactics – did they want to pursue him?”

Stills said the officers weighed up a pursuit, where the gunman could have got away and “unleashed” on more innocent members of the public.

They also had to consider whether pursuing him would cause a crash which could also be fatal and involve innocent road users.

“They decided to bring it to an end as quickly as possible and they decided to immobilise the car by ramming it,” Stills said.

They rammed the gunman’s car on the driver’s side and footage supplied to the Heraldshows the officers dragging him out of the passenger side.

Stills said one officer saw “high risk” items in the back of the car and ran back round to the police car to radio the information in and warn other police.

He believed those items would put his colleagues in danger and wanted to tell them to stay back.

While doing that he lost sight of the alleged gunman and was worried for his colleague so he abandoned the plan and went back to the passenger side.

“He yelled at members of the public to get back,” said Stills.

“The car posed a danger.”

Once the alleged gunman was contained both officers used the radio to alert other police to the situation.

While police chases are controversial I don’t think there will be much if any criticism of this one.

Stuff: Video captures act of bravery as police arrest Christchurch shooting suspect

NZ Herald:  Exclusive footage of mosque shooting arrest: Suspect dragged along sidewalk


Leave a comment


  1. Ray

     /  18th March 2019

    Next time the politicians are giving themselves and their donors knighthoods I hope these two real heroes get more than some minor gong.

    • Gezza

       /  18th March 2019

      Hear hear.

      • Norm Grey

         /  18th March 2019

        Remember that WE are the people who nominate the people to receive the awards.
        Google the awards website to see what needs to be done for a nomination.
        There seems to be some misapprehension that these are all done by the Govt.
        I have achieved a couple for very deserving people.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  18th March 2019

      Add the Muslim who disarmed the attacker in the Linwood mosque and the other acts of courage and selflessness from those attacked.

      • Gezza

         /  18th March 2019

        Good one Alan

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  18th March 2019

          He didn’t disarm him, he lured him away (how COULD anyone be so brave and selfless ?) and played cat-and-mouse until they reached the murderer’s car (it’s terrifying to even think about this) and picked up a discarded gun with which he smashed the windscreen and frightened away the murderer.

          It gives me cold shivers to to even think about this.

          ‘Anyone would have done it.’ No, Abdul, none of the anyones I know think that they could have have, I couldn’t have.

          Ray, politicians do not ‘give themselves and their donors knighthoods’; that’s a myth. If they did, there’d be far more of them. Look up the way that the system works. Anyone can recommend someone for a gong.And look at who has them. I was lucky enough to have lunch with two dames and someone whom I won’t name, and neither was a politician or a donor…the man was one of NZ’s most famous politicians and he’s still plain Mr.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  18th March 2019

            As far as I can tell from the media he tackled Tarrant and made him drop the gun but it was already out of ammunition? The accounts are a bit confusing.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  19th March 2019

              He seemed to be saying that he picked up a gun and smashed the windscreen which unnerved the murderer and made him take off.

              Whatever happened, he deserves the civil equivalent of a VC.

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