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Lynn Mall stabbings a ‘terrorist attack’

Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the attack at the New Lynn Countdown supermarket today was a terrorist attack carried out by a violent extremist.

The prime minister and the police commissioner have addressed the media after the man was fatally shot at a west Auckland mall this afternoon.

It is understood six people – all shoppers at the mall – have been injured in the incident at LynnMall in New Lynn.

St John says three patients in a critical condition and one patient in a serious condition have been taken to Auckland City Hospital; one patient in a moderate condition has been taken to Waitakere hospital; and one patient in a moderate condition has been taken to Middlemore Hospital.

Ardern revealed the terrorist is a Sri Lankan national who arrived in New Zealand in October 2011 and he became a person of national security interest from 2016.

The reasons he is known to agencies is subject to suppression orders, but Ardern says it was her view that it was in the public interest to share as much information as possible.

The prime minister did say the terrorist held a violent ideology inspired by the Islamic State, but it would be wrong to direct any frustration at anyone other than this individual.

She says she was personally aware of the terrorist before today's attack.

Ardern says it was a senseless attack and she was sorry it happened.

"What happened today was despicable. It was carried out by an individual."

Ardern says the individual was under constant monitoring, and he was shot and killed with in 60 seconds of the attack starting.

The police team who was monitoring shot and killed him.

Coster says the man was under heavy surveillance because of concerns about his ideology.

He entered the store and obtained a knife from within the store before starting the attack.

When the man approached police with the knife he was shot and killed.

Coster says the surveillance teams were "as close as they possibly could be without compromising the surveillance

"I acknowledge that this situation raises questions about whether police could have done more, whether police could have intervened more quickly.

“I'm satisfied based on the information available to me that the staff involved did not only what we expect they would do in this situation, but did it with great courage.

"The reality is, that when you are surveilling someone on a 24/7 basis, it is not possible to be immediately next to them at all times. The staff intervened as quickly as they could and they prevented further injury in what was a terrifying situation.”

Ardern says all legal and surveillance power has been used to try to keep people safe from this individual.

"What I can say is that we have utilized every legal and surveillance power available to us to try and keep people safe from this individual. Many agencies and people were involved and all were motivated by the same thing - trying to keep people safe."

Coster says there had been nothing that would tell police the extent of his intentions, or that he intended to do this today.

He says the individual was very surveillance-conscious, and surveillance teams needed to maintain a distance to be effective.

"There was nothing to prevent him being in the community and we were doing absolutely everything possible to monitor him and indeed the fact that we were able to intervene so quickly - in roughly 60 seconds - shows just how closely we were watching him."

Ardern says the local Muslim community has been "nothing but helpful and supportive. It would be wrong to direct any frustration to anyone beyond this individual.

“That is who is culpable, that is who is responsible - no one else".

She says his past behaviour and action did not reach the threshold to have him in in prison, which was why he was being constantly monitored.

An eyewitness has told RNZ she saw a man running around armed with a knife and heard many people screaming.

Another shopper who was in the supermarket at the time heard someone scream before shoppers started running towards the door.

Heavily armed police and ambulances remain at the scene.

RNZ

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12 Comments
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@Slim Shady - Cynical Cindy

Posted on 06-09-2021 15:39 | By morepork

I agree with you 100% on this. Hate Speech Laws would not have prevented this tragedy, but it will be spun to look as if they might have.

@Clifton guy

Posted on 06-09-2021 15:37 | By morepork

He was being surveilled by SIS agents, who would be armed as a matter of course. It is most likely that one of these shot him. Attention is deflected to the Police (who would also be involved), because of the nature of SIS.

Police readiness

Posted on 04-09-2021 13:42 | By

Apart from knowing about this person since 2016 and not neutralising his activities, this incident just reinforces the arguement for our police to carry firearms when on duty. Although I find it interesting that they were able to shoot him soon after he initiated the attacks.

Laughable

Posted on 04-09-2021 12:43 | By

A very different approach from government compared to Christchurch. Great emphasis on “an individual, not a faith”. No mention of it being a global problem. Interesting.

Next move?!

Posted on 04-09-2021 12:01 | By Lyrch

Maybe Jacinda will now remove certain sharp objects from the community to stop this from happening again!

Oh Puhleez...

Posted on 04-09-2021 11:02 | By morepork

We need an investigation to find if the Police could have done more when they stopped the guy in 60 seconds? They did what the Government should have done long before; they stopped him. Why are the cops always under the gun for doing their job? What cost to the NZ tax payer have years of "close surveillance" run up? There are reasons of "National security" as to why this lunatic was allowed to stay here... given the seriously injured Kiwis, there should be full disclosure. Was he allowed here as a favor to our Allies? We deserve an explanation and should demand one. Never mind investigating the cops; we should be investigating the politics behind this.

Cynical Cindy

Posted on 04-09-2021 07:00 | By

Cindy is already linking this tragic failure to the new “speech laws”. It is a red herring. Our anti terrorism laws were inadequate to get rid of this threat. They failed to pass the required terrorism laws to have him locked up and deported. They were warned about this weak ass law. The new “speech laws” will not address the need to rid the country of terror threats. They are nothing to do with this hole in the terror laws. But she is going to try and tell you that the new “speech laws” will be a good thing and stop this sort of thing. Cashing in on a failure to protect people through poor close surveillance. Cynical.

Support our cops

Posted on 03-09-2021 22:22 | By

How much worse it could have been were it not for our fantastic public service officers. I wonder how many others have been let free onto our streets by court order to serve a year or more of supervision in a despicable attempt to reduce the number of serving inmates in our prisons. The consequence of failing to be tough on crime is all around us and is increasingly equiping themselves with weaponry without fear of appropriate consequences and with luvvies making excuses for their abhorrent behaviour.

Unbelievable!!

Posted on 03-09-2021 20:06 | By

Why on earth was this disgusting excuse for a human allowed to stay in New Zealand if the Government, Police and courts knew what he was? He should have had his citizenship or residency stripped and sent back to his home country. This is on the Government’s head.

Here we go

Posted on 03-09-2021 19:53 | By

“Under close surveillance”. Hmmm….60 seconds is 300 metres away. Asking someone, “where is he?” Is that close surveillance? Is this like the Christchurch gunman having Police Checks done before giving him a license to buy machine guns? More covering up going on here.

Attack

Posted on 03-09-2021 19:11 | By surfsup

Person of interest since 2016 ,why was he allowed to even stay in the Country if they knew he was a potential threat.

One minute

Posted on 03-09-2021 18:38 | By Equality

.... is a long long time in circumstances such as these! If this Muslim was so dangerous, he should have been deported on arrival! So much for strict security - involving more than one policeman to watch his movements at all time. They did not do their job in this instance.