09/28/2013 02:08 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Heroic Civilian, Abdul Haji, Rushed Into Kenyan Shopping Mall Shooting To Rescue Families (PHOTO)

In the days following last Saturday's shooting at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, a photograph of a man in a plaid shirt helping a child to safety went viral.

mall attack

On Thursday, the Telegraph identified the man in the photo as Abdul Haji, the son of a former security minister in the Kenyan government.

Haji left to go to the mall after his brother -- who was trapped inside-- texted him on Saturday afternoon. He helped provide fire cover for Red Cross workers and helped evacuate some of the 1,000 people that escaped, according to the newspaper. Haji told the paper that his father had taught him how to properly use a gun.

In an interview with local TV station, NTV Kenya, Haji described what he saw when he arrived at the mall.

"There were several options when I heard that pictures of me were on the Internet and going viral," Haji told NTV. "I could have kept quiet and let the whole story die out so I could protect my privacy, or I could come out and speak out against these people."

"Muslim leaders have been telling me that this seems to be a platform," he added, "to tell the world that [the gunmen] are not representing Muslims. They're not representing Islam."

Still, Haji doesn't consider his actions extraordinary.

"I think I did what any Kenyan in my situation would have done to save lives," he told the Telegraph, "to save other humans regardless of their nationality, religion or creed."

H/T ITV News



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