Six dead in mass stabbing at Sydney shopping center

Six dead in mass stabbing at Sydney shopping center
  • PublishedApril 14, 2024

Six people have been killed and several others injured, including a nine-month-old baby, in a mass stabbing at a busy shopping mall in Sydney, Australian police said.

Police were called to Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday afternoon local time following reports of multiple people stabbed. Witnesses described scenes of panic with some forced to hide in shops as the attack unfolded.

New South Wales (NSW) police commissioner Karen Webb said four women and a man died at the shopping mall, while another woman passed away at the hospital.

She said that eight people are currently being treated for injuries in hospitals around Sydney, including a nine-month-old infant who has been in surgery.

The suspect – who police said acted alone – was shot dead at the scene by a lone officer.

NSW’s Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke said a senior police inspector was nearby when the attack unfolded.

She arrived on the scene first and was alone when she engaged with the attacker. She shot the offender when he raised a knife at her.

“She discharged her firearm, and that person is now deceased,” Cooke said.

Webb told reporters that current elements do not point to a terror motive, but said that the investigation will be ongoing “for many, many days” and that it is “too early to say” what was behind the attack.

According to Webb, police believe that the suspect was a 40-year-old man but as background checks remain ongoing, she could not provide further identification details.

A law enforcement source briefed on the investigation told CNN the suspect had no prior contact with Australian counterterrorism officials, but had had at least one encounter with New South Wales Police in the past related to mental health issues.

Mass casualty events are rare in Australia.

Mass casualty events are rare in Australia. David Gray/AFP/Getty Images

The officer who shot him was also seen in videos on social media administering CPR to those who had been injured. Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called the officer a hero who “no doubt saved lives.”

The suspect encountered nine people after he entered the mall at 3:10 pm local time, according to police. He left and reentered the mall at 3:20 pm before carrying out his attack.

‘Pandemonium’

Videos shared on social media show shoppers running from multiple exits of the shopping center, while police helicopters can be heard overhead.

CNN’s Australian affiliate, 9 News Sydney, spoke to an eyewitness who said people were running through the shopping center and falling over each other, describing the situation as “pandemonium.”

Two male eyewitnesses told 9 News they saw a baby and mother stabbed.

Westfield Bondi Junction

“We were holding the baby and trying to compress the baby,” one said. “Same with the mother, trying to compress the blood from stopping.”

Another witness described seeing a man in a green shirt stabbing others “indiscriminately.”

“[We just heard] screaming, screaming and it didn’t seem that long before we heard ‘boom boom boom’ of the gunshot and we thought, ‘We hope it’s the police,’” the witness told Australia’s state broadcaster ABC. “It was just carnage.”

In a televised address, Prime Minister Albanese said the attack was “beyond words or understanding.”

He continued: “Today Bondi Junction was the scene of shocking violence. But it was also witness to the humanity and the heroism of our fellow Australians.

“Our brave police, our first responders, and of course everyday people who could never have imagined they would face such a moment.”

Leaders and dignitaries from around the world expressed their shock at the attacks. Britain’s King Charles III, who is head of state in Australia, said he and his wife Queen Camilla are “utterly shocked and horrified” by the killings. Pope Francis said he was “deeply saddened,” according to a statement from the Vatican.

Mass casualty events are rare in Australia. At least four people were killed and one injured in a mass shooting in Darwin, northern Australia in 2019.

April 1996 saw a mass shooting which became known as the Port Arthur massacre – the deadliest in Australia’s modern history – when 35 people were killed in the tourist town in the state of Tasmania.

SOURCE: CNNNEWS

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