Sydney knife attacker shot dead by police after killing six at shopping centre

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A knife attacker killed six people and injured several others in a stabbing spree at a Sydney shopping centre before being shot dead by police.

The lone knifeman attacked shoppers on Saturday afternoon at the Westfield shopping centre in the suburb of Bondi Junction in eastern Sydney.

A female New South Wales Police inspector has been hailed as a hero after she confronted the attacker on her own and shot him dead as he raised a knife and lunged at her.

Police said they had identified the attacker as a 40-year-old man who was known to them, but added that they do not think he was motivated by terrorism.

Four women and a man died in the shopping centre and another woman later died in hospital, police said.

A nine-month-old infant has undergone surgery and eight people, including the child, are in hospitals around Sydney receiving treatment for “different injuries”.

Reports have suggested the woman who died in hospital is the infant’s mother.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb told a press conference that her officers believe the attacker “is a 40-year-old man”.

She added: “If in fact it is the person that we believe it is, then we don’t have fears for that person holding an ideation – in other words, that it’s not a terrorism incident.

“He is known to law enforcement but we are waiting to identify him formally.”

The King has said he and the Queen were “utterly shocked and horrified” by the “senseless attack” in Sydney and their “hearts go out to the families and loved ones of those who have been so brutally killed”.

Emergency services were called to Westfield Bondi Junction at 3.30pm (6.30am UK time) following reports that multiple people had been stabbed, police said.

Anthony Cooke, assistant commissioner of New South Wales Police, said the police officer “confronted the offender”.

At a press conference, he said: “As she continued to walk quickly behind to catch up with him he turned to face her, raised a knife, she discharged a firearm and that person is now deceased.”

He added: “This all happened very, very quickly – the officer that was in the vicinity attended on her own, was guided to the location of the offender by people who were in the centre.

“She took the actions that she did saving a range of people’s lives; (she was) an inspector, a senior police officer – she was on her own.”

The officer conducted CPR on the attacker until the arrival of paramedics, who also worked on the man; however, he could not be revived.

Video footage shared online appears to show a shopper confronting the attacker on an escalator in the shopping centre by holding a bollard towards him.

“They just said run, run, run — someone’s been stabbed,” one witness told ABC TV in Australia.

They added: “(The attacker) was walking really calmly like he was having an ice cream in a park.

“And then he went up the escalators… and probably within about a minute we heard three gunshots.”

A supervisor of a luggage store in the centre said he witnessed the attacker stab a woman and saw the bodies of four people on the ground, including two security guards.

Yohan Francois Philip, 29, told the PA news agency that a woman fleeing the attacker ran to his shop, “banged on the door and said let me in”.

He added: “As I was letting her in, the perpetrator fell behind her with a knife and I saw him and so did the other customers in the store locked in with us and so we quickly pulled her in, locked the door, he got up and we realised he just stabbed two security guards.

“Then he ran across to the corner part of the luggage store, to the premium section, and he stabbed a woman which I saw happen right in front of me.”

Another shopper, who was not named, told ABC News of the moment the attacker was shot: “He just started floating towards us and all I heard was ‘put it down’ and then she shot him.

“But we were in no doubt, if she didn’t shoot him, he would have kept going.

“He was on the rampage.

“Then she walked over and gave him CPR. He had a big blade on him – she chucked the knife away.

“He looked like he was on a killing spree.”

In a statement, the King said: “My wife and I were utterly shocked and horrified to hear of the tragic stabbing incident in Bondi.

“Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of those who have been so brutally killed during such a senseless attack.

“While details of these shocking circumstances are still emerging, our thoughts are also with those who were involved in the response, and we give thanks for the bravery of the first responders and emergency services.”

In a personal social media post, the Prince and Princess of Wales said they were “shocked and saddened” by the stabbings, adding that their thoughts are with those affected and the “heroic emergency responders who risked their own lives to save others”.

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