WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand authorities said Friday they shot and killed a violent extremist after entering a supermarket and stabbing and injuring six shoppers.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the incident as a terrorist attack and said the man was inspired by the Islamic State group. She said he is a Sri Lankan citizen who is well known to the country’s security agencies and is being monitored around the clock.
Ardern said three of those stabbed were seriously injured.
“That was a violent attack. It was pointless, ”said Ardern. “And I’m so sorry it happened.”
The attack unfolded around 2:40 p.m. in a countdown supermarket in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland.
Ardern said a police surveillance team and special tactics group were able to shoot and kill him within 60 seconds of the attack starting as the man was under constant surveillance.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said they had concerns about the man’s ideology and kept a very close eye on him. Coster said they followed him from his house to the grocery store on Friday.
“He entered the shop as he had before. He got a knife from the store, ”said Coster. “Monitoring teams were as close as possible to monitoring his activities.”
Coster said when the riot began, two police officers from the special tactics group rushed over. He said the man approached the police with the knife and they shot him.
A spectator video recorded from inside the supermarket records the sound of 10 shots fired in quick succession.
Some supermarket shoppers reportedly tried to help the injured with towels and diapers.
“For everyone who was there and witnessed such a terrible event, I cannot imagine how they will feel afterwards,” said Ardern. “But thank you for coming to the aid of those who needed you when they needed you.”
Auckland is under strict lockdown as it battles a coronavirus outbreak. Most of the shops are closed and people are generally only allowed to leave their homes for shopping, medical purposes, or sports.
New Zealand has been on high alert for attacks since an armed white racist killed 51 people in two mosques in Christchurch city on March 15, 2019.
In May, four people were stabbed to death in a supermarket in Dunedin, New Zealand’s South Island.