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October 26, 2021
Police in New Zealand fatally shot a Sri Lankan man who was a “known security threat” after he stabbed six people inside an Auckland grocery store on Friday afternoon.
The shooter has not been named at this stage, but he was known to New Zealand police and was a “supporter of ISIS ideology” according to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The man was being monitored because he could not be kept in prison, authorities confirmed.
“I acknowledge this situation poses questions about whether police could have acted faster or done more,” Coster said. “I am confident we have done everything we can within the law … we were doing everything we could to monitor him. The fact we were able to react within 60 seconds shows that.”
“This afternoon at approximately 2:40 p.m., a violent extremist undertook a terrorist attack,” Ardern confirmed to reporters. “This was a violent attack, it was senseless, and I am so sorry it happened.” The attacker obtained a knife within the store and used it to stab shoppers before police shot him, said New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, who described him as a lone actor. The man died at the scene.
Videos posted online showed panicked shoppers running out of the LynnMall Shopping Centre and looking for cover as the situation unfolded. Six people have been injured, emergency crews said, with three in critical condition. Heavily armed police and ambulances remain at the scene, and authorities have cordoned off the surrounding streets.
The attacker came to New Zealand in 2011 and became a person of interest in October 2016, authorities said. Auckland was already under a Level 4 lockdown, the country’s strictest, due to a rise in coronavirus cases, meaning most shops are closed and most people must stay home. Supermarkets remain open as an essential service.
Countdown, the supermarket chain that owns the LynnMall location, said in a statement it was “devastated” by the attack. “Our hearts are heavy knowing what our team and customers have witnessed and been through,” the statement said.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: FOX CAROLINA