New Zealand extremist shot dead in 60 seconds after stabbing 6 people in supermarket

Six people are injured, three of whom are believed to be "seriously injured".

Jean Chien Tay | September 03, 2021, 07:46 PM

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An extremist in New Zealand, believed to have been inspired by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), was shot dead within 60 seconds of launching his attack against people in a supermarket, CNN reported.

The "extremist" stabbed six people with a knife he obtained at the supermarket, with three of those hurt "seriously injured", according to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Speaking at a press conference, Ardern identified the "extremist" as a Sri Lankan man who was a "known threat" and was under surveillance by the police.

Having arrived in New Zealand in 2011, the man has been a "person of national security interest" since 2016.

Not his first attempt

According to reports from the New Zealand Herald, the man was an ISIS sympathiser who was previously arrested for planning a "lone wolf" knife attack.

The attacker can only be addressed as "S" reportedly due to legal reason.

S was previously arrested after he was reportedly discovered to have bought large hunting knives and possessing ISIS videos.

On May 26, he was reportedly found guilty of possessing propaganda material that was supportive of ISIS, though he was acquitted on other charges of possessing a graphic video depicting a prisoner being decapitated and possession of an offensive weapon.

S has "the means and motivation to commit violence in the community", a report for his sentencing mentioned.

Surveillance team was as close as possible

Joining Ardern at the press conference was New Zealand Police Commissioner, Andrew Coster, who confirmed that S was closely watched by a police surveillance team due to his previous convictions.

According to Coster, the officers moved and engaged S, and when he approached them with a knife, "he was shot and killed".

Responding to doubts if the police could have intervened earlier, Coster said the surveillance team kept a "sufficient distance" for effective surveillance, "so they were as close as they possibly could be without compromising the surveillance".

Chaos at the scene

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a witness, Tim, said he saw an elderly man lying on the ground with a stab wound to his abdomen, and a middle-aged woman was also stabbed in the shoulder.

Another witness, Michelle Miller, said she was doing her afternoon shopping when she witnessed the attack. The man was “running around like a lunatic” and attacking people, and she heard "a lot of screaming", she added.

A witness also told the NZ Herald that the attacker "had a big knife on him and he was just saying 'Allahu, Allahu' (God is most great) and he had already stabbed two other people."

Ardern condemned the attack

Ardern further stated that the attack was "carried out by an individual, not a faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity, but an individual person who is gripped by an ideology that is not supported here by anyone".

The premier added that the authorities were exploring all options in order to publicise the attacker's identity, "in the public's interest".

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Top image via NZ Herald/Youtube