WELLINGTON, Sept 3 (Reuters) – New Zealand police on Friday shot and killed a knife-wielding “extremist” who was known to authorities, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, after he stabbed and wounded at least six people in a supermarket.
The attacker, a Sri Lankan national who had been in New Zealand for 10 years, was inspired by the Islamic State militant group and was being monitored constantly, Ardern said.
“A violent extremist undertook a terrorist attack on innocent New Zealanders,” Ardern told a briefing.
“He obviously was a supporter of ISIS ideology,” she said, referring to Islamic State.
The attacker, who was not identified, had been a “person of interest” for about five years, Ardern said, adding that he had been killed within 60 seconds of beginning his attack in the city of Auckland.
Police following the man thought he had gone into the New Lynn supermarket to do some shopping but picked up a knife from a display and started “running around like a lunatic” stabbing people, shopper Michelle Miller told the Stuff online news outlet.
A witness told the New Zealand Herald the attacker had shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest).
“It was hateful, it was wrong. It was carried out by an individual, not a faith,” Ardern said. “It would be wrong to direct any frustration to anyone beyond this individual.”
Of the six wounded people, three were in critical condition, one in serious condition and two were in moderate condition, the St John ambulance service said.
Another witness, Amit Nand, told the Newshub outlet he had seen the attacker and told him to drop the knife just before police arrived.
“This undercover cop came to me … I was going to hit him …. The cop is like ‘get back’ and he started shooting him,” Nand said.
America is a Great Country in which to live.