Violent spree sparks fear, horror and chaos at shopping centre



“Let me assure you that we are confident there is no ongoing risk, and we are dealing with one person who is now deceased.” Webb said the man was known to law enforcement.

The man killed five women and one man, while eight other people are being treated in hospitals across Sydney for a range of injuries.

“It could have been so much worse,” Webb said.

Acting NSW Premier Penny Sharpe said medical staff were working around the clock to try to save the lives of the eight people injured in the stabbing spree.

She said a crisis cabinet meeting had received briefings from the police and NSW Health.

“We hold in our hearts, the families and the friends and those who have lost loved ones with those who are waiting to hear for those that have been injured, and we stand by all the medical staff who are fighting to save their lives,” she said.

The horror unfolded on the first day of the school holidays. Police say CCTV footage shows the attacker first walked into Bondi Junction Westfield at 3.10pm, and left shortly after. He then returned at about 3.20pm. Word began to spread among shoppers that a man was stabbing people with a weapon that onlookers described as a 30-centimetre-long hunting knife.

Panic spread; people locked themselves in store rooms, hid in change rooms – some for hours – or fled to exits. Shop windows clapped down, emergency warnings blared across the centre and people were screaming.

Witnesses said the man, wearing an Australian national rugby league jersey, was scattered, chaotic and appeared to attack randomly. “He wasn’t looking for anyone personally,” one witness told Nine News. “He was just running around with his knife.”

Video taken by a shopper showed a man confronting the attacker with a bollard from the top of an escalator. He was hailed as a hero by onlookers. The video did not show how the confrontation ended.

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Two victims were stabbed in Myer; fellow shoppers grabbed clothes to stem the bleeding. “There were two bodies and just a huge pool of blood,” said one witness, who did not want to be named.

Another witness, Bill, saw two stab victims near the Chanel store on level four. “You could see the blood trail,” he said.

Shoppers rushed to help a screaming mother, who was attacked alongside her baby.

The first-time mum who was bleeding heavily handed her injured baby to strangers, begging them to help. They tried to stem the bleeding. “Just holding the baby, trying to compress the baby, and the same with a mother,” one told Nine News. “There’s a lot of blood on the floor. Hope the baby’s all right.”

Huma Hussainy and Mohamad Naveed were shopping in lululemon when they heard screaming and saw the attacker. He was walking confidently and “cool”, Hussainy said, and was swiping at people indiscriminately.

The couple saw two girls lying in a large pool of blood outside Cotton On about two metres apart. One looked to be about 17 years old, they said.

Geoff Young arrived at the centre at 3.30pm with his toddler in a pram. He stumbled onto a horrendous scene near Country Road, where a woman lay on the ground bleeding, another was being resuscitated, and a third was lying in a pool of blood.

“A lady is lying on the ground and a guy is saying, ‘stay with me, stay with me’ and she is white,” Young said.

Multiple gunshots were also heard on level five, although those shots appear to have been fired by police. The centre was locked down and surrounded by police cars and ambulances from across Sydney.

The female inspector from Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command went into the shopping centre by herself, was directed to the attacker by other shoppers, and approached him, Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke said. He turned on her with the knife, and she fatally shot him.

She then applied CPR. Cooke said she saved lives.

Webb said the officer showed “enormous courage and bravery”.

“She will process this. She’s OK, her family is OK, she has everything she needs for the time being.”

An alterations shop owner, Rakesh Sanga, 33 said he heard shouting outside his store then saw a knife-wielding man confronted by police.

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He said the attacker threw the knife towards a mobile store and was shot by a policewoman. “I think she shot like two times or three times,” he said.

Albanese was briefed on Saturday afternoon. He said his heart went out to the injured, and paid tribute to the first responders.

“This should have been a normal shift,” he told a press conference. “Shoppers peacefully going about their lives. And yet for these Australians, their first instinct in the face of danger was to help someone else.

“That is what we hold on to tonight as Australians. That’s confirmation of who we are. Brave, strong. Together.”

Webb said Westfield Bondi Junction would remain closed on Sunday while police examine the crime scene.

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