IIn a suburb of Sydney, a man killed five people and stabbed several others in a shopping center with a knife. Australian police announced this on Saturday. The death of the criminal was also confirmed by the New South Wales State Police. A policeman shot him during the confrontation.

Until Fähnders

Political correspondent for South and South-East Asia and Australia.

The police initially did not provide more information about the attacker. Reports of a possible second attacker have not been confirmed. Eight people, including a toddler, were taken to various hospitals in Sydney, according to the Ambulance and Rescue Service. Australian broadcaster ABC had previously reported that the baby was nine months old. The police did not rule out a terrorist background, but could not provide information about the motive.

The customers brought a police officer to the scene

Police said the man first entered the mall in the suburb of Bondi Junction at 3.10pm local time and then left again. He then returned at around 3.20pm and began the attack. A police officer was nearby and customers took him to the scene of the crime at the mall, New South Wales Police Chief Anthony Cooke told a news conference. “He confronted the criminal, who was already on the fifth floor at that time. As she continued to run quickly to catch up with him, he turned around and held the knife towards her. He discharged the firearm,” Cooke said. The alleged perpetrator died.

Locked down after attack: Westfield Bondi Junction shopping center in Sydney

Locked down after attack: Westfield Bondi Junction shopping center in Sydney

Image: AFP

The shopping center was immediately evacuated. Hundreds of people rushed into the streets. Some are said to have cried. According to them, a dead body was lying on the ground. Witnesses told ABC that a man ran into the mall with a knife and stabbed customers. Station “9 News” showed a video of the alleged criminal walking through the mall with a knife in his right hand. He was wearing a sports shirt with a large V-shaped pattern. Some people were only a few meters away from him. In the video, he seems to be randomly following different people. Another video shows the same armed man being held back on an escalator by another person.

There is no evidence of a motive at the crime scene

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese spoke on Platform X about the devastating events on Saturday. “Tragically, a number of deaths have been reported and the first thoughts of all Australians are with the victims and their families,” he said.

Police had earlier urged the public to avoid the area. According to their initial investigations, the alleged perpetrator acted alone. “I am confident there is no continuing threat,” said Deputy Director General Cooke. The police do not yet know who the man is. Nothing was found at the crime scene to indicate a possible motive or ideology of the armed criminal. Cooke said he expects a “long and thorough” investigation.

Two witnesses told The Sydney Morning Herald they were shopping when they saw about 20 people walking down the escalator. Someone shouted, “There's a man stabbing people!” reported by Hannah Bodrozic and Guy Johnston. There was chaos and they didn't know where to run. The shutters were closed on the shops around them. Then they heard three shots.

Witness: 'Worst thing I've ever experienced'

Numerous ambulances and police cars lined the streets outside the mall. Westfield Shopping Center is located in the Bondi Junction area east of Sydney, which is particularly busy at weekends. Central Sydney and the famous Bondi Beach are just a few minutes' drive away. ABC reporter Lia Harris reported that dozens, if not hundreds, of police officers stormed the mall.

Armed policemen also gathered on the roofs of the surrounding buildings. “It's swarming with emergency services,” the reporter told the TV station. Another ABC employee reported how she and other customers left the store through the back door. He praised the exemplary performance of the sales staff during the emergency. One young woman described the incident as “the worst thing I've ever experienced”. He saw a woman lying on the floor in a luxury clothing store. He was very scared and was afraid that he would die. “Just everything, every moment, is in my head,” he added.

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