At least six people have been injured after “a violent extremist undertook a terrorist attack on innocent people at a supermarket in Auckland. New Zealand police shot dead the ‘ISIS-inspired lone wolf’ after the terror attack.
A known extremist was responsible for this terror attack in Auckland which has seen three people in critical condition, while six are in hospital.
The man was shot and killed by members of a police Special Tactics Group within 60 seconds of the attack beginning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
He was a Sri Lankan national who came to New Zealand in October 2011 and has been considered a “person of national security interest” since 2016.
Ms Ardern said she was limited in what more she could share about the man as a result of suppression orders made by the court. She did say he was “ISIS-inspired” and a “violent extremist”.
She said she was personally aware of the man prior to the attack. She was confident just one person was involved. “This was a violent attack, it was senseless on innocent New Zealanders,” she said.
Ardern said the attack was undertaken by an individual who was a known threat.
“The terrorist is a Sri Lankan national who arrived in 2011,”said Ardern.
He had been monitored by police surveillance teams and a special tactical team at all times. He travelled from his home in Glen Eden to the New Lynn Countdown on Friday afternoon for what appeared to be a regular shopping trip. Once in the store, at around 2:40 pm, he obtained a knife and began the attack, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said.
Within around 60 seconds of the attack beginning, Coster said, members of the Special Tactics Group had killed him. They were close enough to him to hear when the “commotion” began. None of those injured was believed to be police officers or mall or supermarket staff, Coster said. The only firearms involved were those used by police.
“What happened today was despicable, it was hateful, it was wrong. It was carried out by an individual, not faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity, but an individual person who is gripped by an ideology that is not supported here by anyone,” Ms Ardern said.
Due to the suppression orders, Ms Ardern said she was unable to provide information about any past criminal history. “By law, we could not keep him in prison,” she said.