When Ross McGuiness heard strange noises outside his house on Friday afternoon, he never expected to come face-to-face with a gunman.
Forty-nine people have been killed in attacks on Christchurch mosques, with more seriously injured. Police also discovered and disabled several improvised explosive devices.
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From his house, McGuiness heard the first two shots.
"We were looking at each other while it looked like he was reloading his rifle," McGuiness told Newshub's National Correspondent Patrick Gower.
"We stared at each other. He was putting another magazine... we were just looking at each other."
McGuiness echoed other witness reports that the shooter was dressed in "SWAT gear", adding the attacker "looked prepared".
"I thought he was the police," he admitted.
McGuiness said the man shot out the back of a car's window before firing towards a motel then sped through an intersection.
The Christchurch resident didn't see anyone injured and speculated the encounter may have been before the mosque shootings.
Three people remain in police custody, with one man charged with murder. He's set to appear in court on Saturday.