A “violent extremist” was shot dead by police in New Zealand after he stabbed and injured at least six people in a supermarket.

The attack happened in the city of Auckland at around 2:40pm local time on Friday 3 September.

In a press conference given by the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, she described the incident as a “terrorist attack” and said the perpetrator was a Sri Lankan national who was known to national security authorities.

Ardern said the alleged attacker, who has not yet been identified, was inspired by the Islamic State terrorist group but acted as a “lone wolf”.

The perpetrator was shot and killed within 60 seconds of the attack beginning and was under surveillance at the time of the stabbings.

Ardern said: “What happened today was despicable. It was hateful, it was wrong, it was carried out by an individual, not a faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity, but an individual person who was gripped by ideology that is not supported here by anyone or any community.”

Health officials said three of the six wounded victims are in critical condition and one is in a serious condition.

What happened?

The attack took place at a Countdown supermarket in the district of New Lynn in Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island.

Accounts suggest the attacker took a knife from a supermarket display cabinet and began attacking strangers in the shop.

A member of the public who was about to enter the supermarket at the time told New Zealand news outlet Stuff NZ: “I heard a lot of commotion, some people running out hysterical, yelling and screaming. I didn’t know what it was until this woman came past me and everyone was yelling, ‘She’s stabbed. She’s stabbed’.”

The eyewitness said that, within seconds, undercover police arrived on the scene and shot the perpetrator multiple times.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said: “We have dealt with that person. We know from our extensive monitoring that he was acting alone.”

Coster said the man was under surveillance, allowing for a quick response from the police. He continued: “He was closely watched by surveillance teams and a technical team to monitor his actions and behaviour. He entered the store, as he has done before.

“He obtained a knife from within the store. Surveillance teams were as close as they possibly could be to monitor his activity. When the commotion started two police tactical operators from the STG moved to his location and engaged him. When he approached them with the knife, he was shot and killed.”

How have people reacted?

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the attack, writing, “We stand with our Kiwi family in deploring all such violent acts designed to create fear and divide us”.

Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, Luke Pollard, also shared his sympathies particularly given the recent shooting in Plymouth.

How you can help

In the wake of these types of tragedies, you are more than likely to see several allegations, images and clips about what might have happened, despite little information being made available to the public.

It is always important to remain vigilant about what you read and see in relation to this event in the next few days in order to avoid spreading misinformation or harming the police’s investigation.

If you do happen to see anything along those lines, here are a few things to consider that will help the authorities and others understand what has happened.

1. Get your information from official news sources

Many people will share their thoughts and what they believe has happened in Auckland.

However, if you do feel that you must share any information, only trust what has already been reported by either the authorities or trusted and official local or national news outlets.

Always double-check that anything you have read has been reported by the police before sharing anything on your social media accounts.

2. If you think you have information, send it to the right sources

Some information about the stabbings has been disclosed to the public thus far. However, if you believe that you have or have seen any knowledge, imagery or footage, it’s important that it is sent to the correct people first and not spread around social media first.

Sharing anything on the internet before contacting the authorities can seriously hinder an investigation when your evidence, no matter how small, could be invaluable to the investigators.

3. Don’t share any graphic content or disturbing imagery

It cannot be more strongly stressed that should you see any footage claiming to be from the attack, whether it is graphic or not, that it should not be shared, under any circumstances and should be immediately reported to both the authorities and the moderators of that respective website.

These types of videos can cause an incredible amount of stress to others – especially if family or friends were involved. If you believe that you have seen any footage or imagery of the shooting in the past few hours, please flag it and pass it on to the correct sources but do not share on your own accounts.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)