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Police in Australia identify the Sydney stabbing attacker who killed 6 people

A woman brings flowers to an impromptu memorial at Bondi Junction in Sydney, Sunday, April 14, 2024, after several people were stabbed to death at a shopping center Saturday.
Rick Rycroft
/
AP
A woman brings flowers to an impromptu memorial at Bondi Junction in Sydney, Sunday, April 14, 2024, after several people were stabbed to death at a shopping center Saturday.

SYDNEY — Police have identified the assailant who stabbed six people to death at a busy Sydney shopping center before he was fatally shot by a police officer.

New South Wales Police said Sunday that Joel Cauchi, 40, was responsible for the Saturday afternoon attack at the Westfield Shopping Centre in Bondi Junction, in the city's eastern suburbs and not far from the world-famous Bondi Beach.

NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Anthony Cooke told reporters at a media conference on Sunday that Cauchi suffered from yet unspecified mental health issues and police investigators weren't treating the attack as terrorism-related.

"We are continuing to work through the profiling of the offender but very clearly to us at this stage it would appear that this is related to the mental health of the individual involved," Cooke said.

"There is still, to this point... no information we have received, no evidence we have recovered, no intelligence that we have gathered that would suggest that this was driven by any particular motivation - ideology or otherwise," he added.

The attack at the shopping center, one of the country's busiest and which was a hub of activity on a particularly warm fall afternoon, began around 3:10 p.m. and police were swiftly called.

Six people — five women and one man, aged between 20 and 55 — were killed in the attack and 12 others remain in hospital, including a 9-month-old child, whose mother died during the attack.

Two of the six victims were from overseas and have no family in Australia, Cooke said on Sunday.

Video footage shared online appears to show many people fleeing as a knife-wielding Cauchi walked through the shopping center and lunging at people.

Other footage shows a man confronting the attacker on an escalator in the shopping center by holding what appeared to be a post towards him.

Cauchi was shot dead by a lone female police officer at the scene.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the officer was "certainly a hero" who's actions had saved many more lives.

"The wonderful inspector who ran into danger by herself and removed the threat that was there to others, without thinking about the risks to herself," he said.

"We also see the footage of ordinary Australians putting themselves in harm's way in order to help their fellow citizens. That bravery was quite extraordinary that we saw yesterday," he added.

The shopping center remains closed on Sunday and will be an active crime scene for days, police said.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Associated Press
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