“The whole city was on lockdown,” Gordon said hours after 49 people were killed in terrorist attacks during prayer services at two mosques in Christchurch.
Gordon said her twin 13-year-old daughters, Sylvia and Julie, were at school when a shooter opened fire at a nearby mosque.
“It was really terrifying for them, and it was horrible for me,” she said.
Gordon’s children were separated during an hours-long lockdown at school. One of the girls called Gordon as the tragedy unfolded.
“She was hysterically crying,” Gordon said.
Filled with worry, Gordon was unable to reach her other daughter.
“It really bothered me that I could not reassure her,” she said.
In her native Chicago, members of the Muslim Community Center want reassurance from police following the New Zealand attacks, asking for extra patrols near mosques.
“Driving around here, just to make sure people are safe,” said Imad Said.
“We are in contact with federal partners and the international intelligence community monitoring the tragedy in New Zealand,” CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. “First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio has directed districts to pay special attention to mosques and citizens can expect to see a heightened presence in those areas.”
Despite the mosque attacks in New Zealand, dozens showed up for morning prayers on Friday at the Muslim Community Center in Old Irving Park.
“I’m very upset, but I’m not going to stop going to the mosque,” Jamil Adi said.
As for Gordon, she said her new home won’t allow the attacks to affect its future.
“It will not be tolerated, and we will not let this go on at all,” she said.
Muslim Community Center leaders said, even if Chicago police don’t increase patrols near mosques, they’ve hired their own security to keep watch on prayer services.