One person was killed and six people injured in what authorities have described as a “terrorist attack” at a New Zealand supermarket.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Friday that the violent attack at the supermarket in Auckland was a “terrorist attack” carried out by an “extremist.”
The police shot the attacker at the scene after injuring multiple people at 2:40 p.m. local time at the Countdown supermarket in Auckland’s New Lynn.
Ambulance service St. John’s spokesperson said at least six people were injured, including three in critical condition.
“A violent extremist undertook a terrorist attack on innocent New Zealanders at a New Lynn Countdown in Auckland,” Ms. Ardern told a press conference in Wellington.
“This was a violent attack. It was senseless, and I’m sorry it happened,” said the prime minister, adding that the police shot the offender within roughly a minute of the attack happening.
The attacker is a Sri Lankan national who arrived in New Zealand in 2011 and had been closely monitored by the New Zealand police since 2016 for his Islamic State ideology, she said.
It is unknown whether the man was a New Zealand citizen.
New Zealand police commissioner Andrew Coster also confirmed at the press conference that the individual behind the attack was under heavy surveillance over “concerns about his ideology.”
The offender was acting alone, and there was no further threat to the public, said Mr. Coster.
The person traveled from where he lived in Glen Eden to Countdown at LynnMall in western Auckland and was closely watched by surveillance teams.
He entered the Countdown supermarket, where he obtained a knife.
Surveillance teams were as close as possible, and when the commotion began, they acted, according to Mr. Coster.
When the man approached them with the knife, he was shot and killed, said the police chief.
Armed police have blocked off the roads nearby, and at least 10 police vehicles were around the mall where the supermarket is located.
“If we’d reached a threshold for him to be in prison, he would have been in prison. If he’d committed a criminal act that would have allowed him to be in prison, that’s where he would have been,” added the prime minister. “Unfortunately, he didn’t. That is why, instead, he was being monitored constantly and followed. It would be wrong to direct any frustration to anyone beyond this individual. That is who is culpable, that is who is responsible – no one else.”
Ms. Ardern also assured the public that her government would provide more information as soon as available.