The day New Zealand lost its innocence, the world lost ever-smiling Mucad Ibrahim.
As the shots erupted in Masjid Al Noor mosque, where Mucad attended with his father each Friday for prayer, the wide-eyed three-year-old instinctively ran to flee the horror.
As reported by Daily Mail, he ran straight into the firing line of the terrorist, who ended the little boy’s life with a squeeze of the trigger, tearing his family apart.
Mucad will never attend Friday prayer with his brother and father, who lay motionless nearby by, playing dead throughout the rampage, again.
His cheeky giggle will never be heard, silenced by an unfathomable act of terror.
Mucad died in his father’s arms, taking his final breaths surrounded by fallen worshippers.
Last night, the death toll from the attacks was reported by authorities as 50, with a further 50 people left injured.
The terrorist used a camera affixed to a helmet to live stream video of the killings on Facebook. He filmed his car journey, during which he listened to the British Grenadiers marching song, as though gearing himself up for the rampage.
As he strolled, with a chillingly-casual swagger, towards the mosque, a worshipper greeted him ‘Hello, brother’.
He then opened fire, and in less than six minutes, 41 people lay dead.
Mucad’s brother, Abdi Ibrahim, paid tribute to Mucad, reminiscing on his energy and playfulness, and how he “liked to smile and laugh a lot”.
He managed to escape the mosque while his father lay still inside. He said no one had seen Mucad following the shooting, and the family had hoped with all their might his name would appear on a list of injured people, still alive.
But when they couldn’t find him listed at Christchurch Hospital, the horrifying reality began to sink in.
“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,” Abdi told Stuff yesterday.
“It’s been pretty tough, a lot of people are ringing me asking if you need help. It’s been hard at the moment, [we’ve] never dealt with this.”
It was, as the world continues to say, the day New Zealand lost its innocence.
But amid the horror of the unprecedented atrocity, stories of the extraordinary courage of civilians have emerged.
71-year old Haji Daoud Nabi died in an explosion of bullets as he flung himself in the firing line to protect people around him.
Naeem Rashid, who died in hospital following his injuries, selflessly attempted to disarm the shooter by wrestling him to the ground.
And a 66-year-old woman, Jill, witnessed the attack and rallied to the victims’ aid, using her car as a shield against bullets.
In the wake of the attack, it is not the perpetrator who should be remembered, but the heroes.