He asked survivors about his father, Dawoud Nabi, 65, a native of Afghanistan who had lived in New Zealand since 1977.
“Someone said he jumped the fence and said he’s safe,” he told The New York Times. “Then I waited and waited and my daughter called and said he’s dead.”
On Saturday morning, his hands shaking, he showed reporters a photo on his phone of his father and his daughter.
“Dad was the leader of the Afghan community and welcomed everyone,” he said.
He had gone to the courthouse where the accused gunman would appear. “Just want to see his face,” he said.
Members of Bangladesh’s national cricket team, who were in Christchurch for a match, were also saved by tardiness, after a news conference delayed their walk to the Deans Avenue mosque.
Mohammad Isam, an ESPN reporter covering the team, reported on an ESPN website that at 1:52 he got a terrified call from Tamim Iqbal Khan, one of the Bangladesh cricketers.
“There’s shooting here, please save us,” Mr. Khan said, according to Mr. Isam.
“I first think that he is playing a prank but he hangs up and calls again – this time, his voice starts to crack,” Mr. Isam wrote. “He says that I should call the police as there’s a shooting going on inside the mosque where they are about to enter.”
Mr. Khan wrote on Twitter: “Entire team got saved from active shooters.”
Another player, Mushfiqur Rahim, tweeted “we r extremely lucky … never want to see this things happen again … pray for us.”