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Australia shopping centre attacker identified

A man who carried out a deadly stabbing rampage at a Westfield shopping centre in Bondi Junction in Sydney’s east yesterday afternoon has been identified as a 40-year-old from Queensland.

Joel Cauchi has been named as the knife-wielding man who killed six people and injured at least a dozen more in the attack.

The victims included 38-year-old woman Ash Good, the mother of a nine-month-old baby girl who was also wounded in the attack.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb confirmed four women and one man died at the scene, in addition to the attacker. Good died later in hospital.
Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke said this morning Cauchi was thought to have moved from Queensland to New South Wales last month.

Cooke said police had spoken to his family and they were cooperating with investigators.
“We know that shortly after coming to Sydney, he took possession of a storage facility that has been identified and we have worked through that very small storage facility,” he said.

He said while the reason for the attack was not confirmed, police expected it was related to the killer’s mental health.
The attacker was shot dead by a lone police officer, Inspector Amy Scott, who entered the shopping centre after reports of the stabbings.

Footage captured her, along with several bystanders, pursuing the knife-wielding man before a final confrontation.
“She was just on general duties, just in around the precinct, got the call and went to the scene immediately, and was confronted by the perpetrator,” NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley told Today.

“He dived at her and she shot him.”
Catley said she had thanked the “humble” officer on behalf of the people of NSW for preventing further deaths and injuries.
“She said, ‘It wasn’t just about me, minister’,” Catley said.
“She said the people, the bystanders around really helped as well.”
Catley confirmed that Queensland Police were helping the investigation.

NSW Health Minister Ryan Park confirmed this morning that a number of people remain in hospital.

“We have around about 12 people in hospital, some of them varying from critical to more stable,” he told Today.

He confirmed a nine-month-old baby girl had undergone surgery and was now in intensive care.

Park praised the actions of paramedics and other frontline emergency service personnel.
“Those brave paramedics and those brave police officers, people are alive this morning, Karl, because of their work and their bravery,” he said.

New footage shows the man approaching a shopper on the nearly-deserted level five of Westfield Bondi, his knife hidden behind his back.

He is seen lunging at a shopper, who fell to the ground and scrambled away.
Just seconds before, a young girl was standing where the killer would soon be, before she was safely hidden in Cotton On.

Another scene shows the attacker pursued by Scott, the police officer, who is joined by some bystanders, including one armed with a chair.

Moments later, Scott would confront the attacker and shoot him dead.
Webb addressed the media on Saturday night, revealing police believe the attacks were random, not targeted, but are still investigating a possible motive.
The commissioner added that police believe they know who the offender is but are awaiting formal processes to be undertaken.

“We know a little bit about this person but we’re waiting to confirm his identification,” she said.

“If in fact it is the person we think it is, we don’t have fears for that person holding an ideation. In other words, that it’s not a terrorism incident.

“He is known to law enforcement but we’re waiting to identify him formally.”
Webb said, if the man is to be formally identified as suspected, NSW Police “are confident that there is no ongoing risk and we are dealing with one person who is now deceased.”
The shopping centre will be closed for trade today and the crime scene will remain ongoing for several days.

Police said a man walked into the centre at about 3.10pm before he returned 10 minutes later at 3.20pm and began stabbing people.

“It is clear that during that engagement he caused harm to those people, we believe, by stabbing them with a weapon he was carrying,” Cooke said.

Police rushed to the scene after they received multiple calls from members of the public. (Nine news)

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