New Zealand authorities do not believe that the stabbing attack on a Dunedin supermarket yesterday (Monday) – in which four people sustained wounds and the apparent lone attackers was also slightly injured – is a terror-related event.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, speaking to the media after a Cabinet meeting, said there was nothing to suggest it was a domestic terror attack.
“Needless to say, such an attack is hugely concerning and I do want to acknowledge the really early report of courageous acts by bystanders. Our thoughts are with all those who’ve been affected by this attack,” the PM stated.
She added that police were still investigating the motivation for the attack.
No additional suspects are being sought
“They want to have a bit more time before they make public statements on that,” Ardern said. She confirmed that it appeared to be the work of a lone attacker and no additional suspects were being sought.
The attack occurred at the Countdown supermarket on Cumberland Street in Dunedin just before 2.30pm.
According to reports, screaming was heard and then shelves and items falling as the man began his attack.
Several bystanders and store staff who ran to the scene were then able to overpower and detain the man before police arrived. They have subsequently been praised by the public and police for their quick and brave actions.
“It is nothing short of heroic. I have, before I came to speak to you this afternoon, viewed the CCTV footage which is quite traumatic. And what I can say is that those who intervened – some of whom became injured themselves – have acted selflessly and with great courage to prevent this man from hurting anybody else,” police spokesperson, District Commander Paul Basham, said shortly afterwards.
Two of the injured confirmed as employees
All of those injured were taken to hospital and the attacker, who had minor injuries, was also briefly hospitalised and then discharged into police custody overnight.
He appeared in court today (Tuesday) and will remain behind bars until his next court appearance in June. The name of the man, who is aged 42, has been suppressed by order of the court.
Kiri Hannifin, a corporate affairs spokesperson for Countdown, confirmed that two of those injured are employees. The store is closed until at least Wednesday, Countdown confirmed.
Dunedin mayor Aaron Hawkins called the incident “chilling” because of its random nature.
“Everyone should feel safe in their place of work or going about everyday tasks like grocery shopping. These sorts of events are particularly chilling because it could have been any of us or our friends or family – it’s a busy location in the centre of the city,” he said.