Sydney knife attacker shot dead after killing six people in Bondi

Updated: 5pm

An attacker who fatally knifed six people in a Sydney mall was shot dead by police in the beachside suburb of Bondi on Saturday, police said, as hundreds fled the scene.

The assailant was shot by a police officer after he attacked shoppers in the busy Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre, a police statement said.

Five of the six victims killed were women, while eight people, including a nine-month-old baby, were taken to hospital with stab wounds, New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb told a press conference.

Police at this stage do not believe the attack was terrorism-related, Webb said.

An Irish man who is living and working Bondi told Newstalk he was inside the shopping centre when the attack happened.

Niall Naughton, from Boston-Tubber in Co Clare, said: “I went downstairs after getting my haircut just before everything happened.

“I went into Zara, and I was in the dressing room when I heard what sounded like a herd of cattle.

“They were screaming, stabbing or shooting, we need to leave. I heard one woman saying ‘terrorist, terrorist, terrorist’.”

He said Zara staff took them downstairs to a basement and barricaded the door.

He added that all that was running through his mind was if he was going to die and who was the first person he should contact.

Australiam prime minister Anthony Albanese said there was no indication yet of the man’s motive.

“This was a horrific act of violence, indiscriminately targeting innocent people going about an ordinary Saturday doing their shopping,” he told a press conference.

“Tonight the first thoughts of all Australians are with the victims of these terrible acts.”

Australia, a country of about 26 million people, has some of the world’s toughest gun and knife laws, and attacks such as the one on Saturday are rare.

Emergency services were called to the mall, about three kilometres (1.9 miles) from Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach and popular with children and families, just before 4pm (7am Irish time) after the stabbing reports, police said.

Ayush Singh, 25, was working in a cafe in the mall when he saw the attack and then heard gunshots as police responded.

“I saw the guy with the knife running and chasing people. As he walked just past beside me I heard two or three gunshots and the guy was neutralised,” he told Reuters.

“People around me were terrified. There were some old ladies I helped to get them inside a safe place inside the cafe.”

Two other witnesses told Reuters they heard shots.

“Even 20 minutes after people were rushed out of the mall, I saw SWAT teams of people sweeping the surrounding streets,” one witness said.

The other witness said they saw a woman lying on the ground and took shelter in a jewellery store.

An eyewitness described the police officer shooting the attacker to state broadcaster ABC.

“If she did not shoot him, he would have kept going, he was on the rampage,” said the man, who did not give his name. “She went over and was giving him CPR. He had a nice big blade on him. He looked like he was on a killing spree.”

Other witnesses said the man was wearing shorts and an Australian national rugby league jersey, and looked confused and appeared to attack randomly.

“He was not looking for anyone personally,” one witness said on TV. “He was just running around with his knife.”

Several posts on social media showed crowds fleeing the mall and police cars and emergency services rushing to the area.

One video showed a man confronting the attacker with a bollard from the top of an escalator. Others showed people trying to move the injured to safety and help others hide in shops.

“I just saw the footage of the guy with the bollard, I reckon he’s the real hero here,£ Bondi Rescue lifeguard Andy Reid, who was also shopping at the mall, told the Sydney Morning Herald. Reid also attended to a woman who was bleeding on the fourth floor.

The mall will remain closed on Sunday while an investigation continues, police said.

Both Taoiseach Simon Harris and Tánaiste Micheál Martin have expressed their shock upon learning of the attack.

Mr Harris said “the thoughts and prayers of everyone in Ireland are with our Australian friends”, while Mr Martin said the incident underlines the threat posed across the globe by such unprovoked acts.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it is ready to provide consular assistance if required.



No votes yet.
Please wait...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *