New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the attack on the Auckland supermarket customers a terrorist attack, which left six people injured.
Three of the casualties are in critical condition.
In a press conference alongside Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed the attacker was an extremist terror group sympathiser who had been known to authorities since 2016.
Ardern said his ideology was ISIS-inspired, but he was a “lone-wolf”.
“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.
He was under heavy surveillance by specialist tactical officers due to his extremist views, and it was them who shot him dead.
“By the time he entered the supermarket, he was being watched and followed. The police were with him at the time this happened, that level of surveillance was being provided because of the concerns that we had,” Ardern said.
“The detailed reasons he is known to the agencies is the subject of suppression orders made by the court. In my view, it is in the public interest to hear as much as we can, in this case, I’m seeking advice on what we can do to facilitate that sharing of information as soon as possible,” Ardern said.
“Of all of the tools that we have, constant monitoring and surveillance is – outside someone being in prison – one of the strongest we have, and that is what was attached to this individual,” she said.
Despite being under heavy surveillance, he managed to injure six people.
Those officers had followed the man from his Glen Eden home to the supermarket in New Lynn. Once inside, he got hold of a knife and approached officers who later shot him.
Ardern said the man, a Sri Lankan national who came to New Zealand in October 2011, had previously been before the courts.
She said the law meant he could not be kept in prison, but he was being monitored “constantly”.
Suppression orders meant she could not share further details at this stage, but she was seeking further guidance from the courts on that.
Ardern said she was “absolutely gutted” to hear news of the attack.
POLICE INCIDENT — 3:05PM
Due to a police incident, Great North Rd in New Lynn is now CLOSED between Veronica St and Memorial Dr – further cordons are likely in this area. Follow directions of emergency services on-site and avoid the area if possible. ^MF pic.twitter.com/DWKSsQT0z8
— Auckland Transport Travel Alerts (@AT_TravelAlerts) September 3, 2021
The attack is the second terror attack in recent New Zealand history. On March 15th, 2019, a white supremacist terrorist killed 51 worshippers at a mosque in Christchurch.
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