Police in New Zealand shot dead a knife-wielding man recognized by government officials, said Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, after he stabbed and hurt more than six people in a supermarket.
The “extremist” from Sri Lankan who had been living in New Zealand for ten years, was influenced by the Islamic State militant troop and was being watched all the time, Arden stated. “A violent extremist took part in a terrorist attack on innocent people in the country. He obviously was a follower of ISIS ideology,” she told a briefing referring to Islamic State.
The unidentified attacker had been a target for like five years, Arden claimed. The man had been murdered within one minute of starting his attack in the city of Auckland. Police investigating the man thought he had entered the New Lynn supermarket to do some shopping but took a knife from a display and began running around like an insane person stabbing people, Michelle Miller, who was in the supermarket shopping, told the Stuff online news agency.
Another witness reported to the New Zealand Herald that the attacker had shouted “Allahu Akbar,” meaning God is the greatest. Andrew Coster, the police commissioner, said the attacker was alone, and the police were sure there was no further threat to the people. “We were doing everything we could to capture him, and the fact that we were able to step in rapidly, in a minute, shows how closely we were monitoring him,” Coster said.
Ardern said the attacker was familiar to the authorities due to court suppression orders on legal action. New Zealand has been vulnerable to attacks since March 15, 2019, when a white supremacist criminal killed 51 innocent people at two mosques in Christchurch. Arden said it was unclear if the attack could have been an act of revenge for the 2019 mosque killings. ‘It was hateful, it was wrong. One person, not a faith, carried it out,” she said. “It would not be right to direct any frustration to someone else beyond this individual.”
A video circulating on social media showed people in the shopping mall seconds after the attacker hit. “There is someone here with a knife; he’s got a knife,” a woman can be heard shouting. “Somebody got stabbed.” A guard requested shoppers to exit the mall just before ten rapid shots were heard.
The Friday attack will likely raise questions about why the police decided to let the man free and watch him closely. Ardern said the attacker had not committed crimes that would have subjected him to detainment. “If he would have committed an offense that would have allowed him to be in jail, that’s where he would have been. Unfortunately, he didn’t. Instead, we were monitoring him closely,” she stated.
Of the six victims serious, three were in a critical state, one in severe condition, and two were in a moderate state, the St John ambulance service reported. Another witness, Amit Nand, said he had seen the man and asked him to drop the weapon just before police intervened. “This undercover cop approached me … I was going to hit him …the cop is like ‘stay back,’ and he began shooting him,” Nand said.