Attacker identified in Sydney mall stabbing that killed 6

Australian police say ‘nothing’ to suggest any ‘motivation, ideology’ in Saturday’s fatal attack in Bondi Junction.

Australian police have identified a 40-year-old man as the perpetrator of a Sydney shopping centre stabbing rampage, which killed six people and left several more in critical condition.

New South Wales Police Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke said on Sunday that the man had come from the northeast state of Queensland and was known to law enforcement.

“There is still to this point nothing that we have… no intelligence that we have gathered that would suggest that this was driven by any particular motivation, ideology or otherwise,” said Cooke.

The 40-year-old man, who was shot dead by a senior policewoman at the scene on Saturday, was named as Joel Cauchi.

A Facebook profile said he came from the town of Toowoomba, near Brisbane, and had attended a local high school and university.

A distinctive grey, red and yellow dragon tattoo on his right arm was used to help identify him.

“We know that the offender in the matter suffered from, suffers from, mental health,” Cooke said.

“Preliminary investigations show this person has acted alone. I am content that there is no continuing threat,” Cooke said.

Five women and one man were killed during Cauchi’s Saturday afternoon rampage, which took place in a bustling shopping centre in Sydney’s Bondi Junction neighbourhood.

Among the injured was a nine-month-old baby who was said to be in a “serious but stable condition in hospital”.

Two of the victims are said to have no family in Australia and attempts are being made to contact the relatives overseas.

Local media reported that hundreds of people were evacuated during the attack on Saturday, with broadcast footage showing police locking down the scene and assisting the injured.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described the attack as “unspeakable” and “really just beyond comprehension”.

“People going about their Saturday afternoon shopping should be safe, shouldn’t be at risk. But tragically, we saw a loss of life, and people will be grieving for loved ones today,” he said.

“We also know there are many people still in hospital dealing with recovery, and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Albanese said he had received messages from United States President Joe Biden, United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon among others.

Such attacks are rare in Australia, which has some of the world’s toughest gun and knife laws.

Members of the public are escorted by NSW police officers from inside Westfield Bondi Junction
Members of the public are escorted by police officers from inside the shopping centre in Sydney [Bianca De Marchi/AAP via Reuters]

Images and footage from inside the shopping centre showed a male carrying a bloody knife. Several people inside the mall used bollards to try to stop the suspect, who was wearing shorts and a sports jersey. Videos also showed apparent victims on the ground, with emergency responders administering CPR to one victim.

A young woman who was inside the shopping centre when the attack started said she saw a woman lying on the ground in a shop.

“I didn’t see him [the attacker] properly, I was running, but it was just insane, it was insanity, I wasn’t expecting it.”

Another witness said she and her husband were inside a shop when the commotion started and managed to escape unscathed after locking themselves inside an office room.

“Somebody was injured down there, everybody was looking to see what was going on. Then we saw all these people running towards us and then we heard a shot.”

The six-level shopping centre is located in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and is relatively close to the city’s central business district.

Police officers work at the scene outside Bondi Junction following reports
Police officers work at the scene outside Bondi Junction [Kirsty Needham/Reuters]

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