Home » Suspect among six dead in Australian stabbing spree at busy shopping center: police

Suspect among six dead in Australian stabbing spree at busy shopping center: police

Six people are dead after a stabbing spree in Australia on Saturday afternoon, including the suspect who was shot to death by a police officer, authorities confirmed.

The incident took place at Westfield Bondi Junction, a six-level shopping center in Sydney.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb confirmed at a news conference that four women and one man were killed in the shopping center, and subsequently another woman died at a hospital. Eight others were hospitalized and are being treated for different injuries associated with the attack.

A nine-month-old infant was among those injured and has been in surgery, Webb said. 

“The crime scene remains ongoing, and it will remain ongoing for a number of days,” she added. 

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At least six people, including the suspect, are dead after a stabbing spree at Westfield Bondi Junction, a six-level shopping mall in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday. (DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

Webb said the suspect is a 40-year-old man who was known to police. 

“We know a little bit about this person but we are waiting to confirm his identification,” the commissioner said. She added that police do not believe he was “holding an ideation — in other words, that it’s not a terrorism incident.” 

“Let me assure you that we are confident that there is no ongoing risk and we are dealing with one person who is now deceased,” Webb said. 

Earlier, New South Wales Police Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke told reporters that six people, including the attacker, had died. He said the lone suspect was shot by an officer who was on her own.

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Australia map shows where stabbing incident took place

Authorities said the stabbing incident happened in Westfield Bondi Junction, a shopping center in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.  (Fox News)

“She confronted the offender who had moved by this stage to level five [of the mall] as she continued to walk quickly behind him to catch up with him. He turned, faced her, raised a knife. She discharged a firearm and that person is now deceased,” Cooke said.

Eight other people were taken to the hospital for treatment. Australian media reported and police confirmed that one of the injured was an infant. 

“The baby got stabbed,” a witness told 9News. 

The witness and his brother said they helped to compress the baby and mother’s wounds before they were taken to an ambulance.

“The mom got stabbed, and the mom came over with the baby and threw it at me and [I] was holding the baby,” he said. 

Families walk out of Australian mall after man went on a stabbing spree

Families walk out of the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping mall after a stabbing incident in Sydney on April 13, 2024. Australian police on April 13 said they had received reports that “multiple people” were stabbed at a busy shopping centre in Sydney. (DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

The brother said he believed the baby would survive its injuries, but that the mother was in worse shape with a lot of blood coming out of her mouth. 

An eyewitness at the mall told Reuters she saw a baby with stab wounds being taken to an ambulance. 

Reese Colmenares was among 20 others who hid in a hardware store when people started running out of the mall, including the mother and her baby. 

“The mother was terrified, the mother was sad, just holding (and) comforting the baby,” she told Reuters.

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At least six people, including the suspect, are dead and eight are injured after a stabbing attack at the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping center in Sydney. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Two other witnesses said they heard shots fired.

“Even 20 minutes after people were rushed out of the mall, I saw SWAT teams of people sweeping the surrounding streets,” one witness said.

The other said they saw a woman lying on the ground and took shelter in a jewelry store.

Cooke said the suspect had been in the shopping center, and then left before he returned and began stabbing people in the center.

The motive, if any, and identity of the suspect are unknown at this time. Cooke said there was “nothing that we are aware of at the scene that would indicate any motive or any ideology.” 

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First responders outside Australian mall after attack

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described the deadly stabbing spree as a “horrific act of violence” in a statement after the attack on Saturday. (Steven Saphore/AAP Image via AP)

Asked if officials were ruling out terrorism, Cooke said, “we’re not ruling anything out.” 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has also not declared whether this was an act of terror, but did call it a “horrific act of violence.”

“I think the AFP commissioner has made it clear that speculation… would be unhelpful at this time. We should allow the investigators to go about their work… I’ve also had a discussion tonight with the director general of ASIO. The motive at this stage is unknown, and we will, of course, continue to update the Australian public as more information is known,” Albanese said.

Australian SWAT team

Police enter the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping mall after a stabbing incident in Sydney on April 13, 2024. Australian police on April 13 said they had received reports that “multiple people” were stabbed at a busy shopping centre in Sydney. (DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

Albanese said the “nation offers our deepest condolences and sympathies to all those who are grieving for someone they have lost and we send our strength to those who have been injured.”

“The devastating scenes of Bondi Junction beyond words, or understanding, Australians will be shocked this evening,” Albanese said. “This was a horrific act of violence indiscriminately targeted at the innocent people going about an ordinary Saturday, doing their shopping.”

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The prime minister applauded first responders for their quick work Saturday afternoon.

“All of us are thinking of the dedicated doctors, nurses and health care workers who will be working through the night to save lives and to care for their fellow Australians.

“Today Bondi Junction was the scene of shocking violence, but it was also witnessed to the humanity and the heroism of our fellow Australians. Our police, our first responders, and of course everyday people who could never have imagined that they would face such a moment and some of the footage is quite extraordinary.”

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates. The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.