New Zealand shooting: Dad hit by hail of bullets protecting young son during mosque massacre

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand -- An Indonesian man is recovering in the hospital after he was hit by a hail of bullets protecting his young son during the New Zealand mosque massacre, according to family members.

Zulfirman Syah shielded his son, Averroes, from the gunfire, leaving the toddler with only minor injuries, the exact nature of which is unclear. Syah was shot repeatedly and had to undergo extensive surgery following the shooting Friday at Linwood Islamic Centre, according to a Facebook post from his wife.

"While the road to recovery will be long, his condition has only improved since he arrived at the hospital yesterday. This afternoon he had a visit from the Indonesian ambassador, which lifted his spirits," she wrote.

She added that Averroes "has been cheerful while keeping the staff on the children's ward entertained with his talkative and energetic nature."

A family friend has established a GoFundMe fundraiser to help offset the cost of medical treatment and other related expenses.

Syah and his son are among the dozens injured after a gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, killing at least 50 people in New Zealand's deadliest shooting in modern history.

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When the gunman advanced toward the mosque, Abdul Aziz didn't hide. He picked up the first thing he could find and ran outside screaming "Come here!"

The suspect in the shootings, 28-year-old white supremacist Brenton Harrison Tarrant, appeared in court Saturday amid strict security, shackled and wearing all-white prison garb, and showed no emotion when the judge read one murder charge and said more would likely follow.

Tarrant had posted a jumbled 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto online before the attacks and apparently used a helmet-mounted camera to broadcast live video of the slaughter.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the gunman had sent the manifesto to her office email about nine minutes before the attacks, although she hadn't gotten the email directly herself. She said her office was one of about 30 recipients and had forwarded the email to parliamentary security within a couple of minutes of receiving it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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