The New Lynn supermarket attacker known as the “S”, shown posing with an air rifle, was under police surveillance after he was arrested for sinister Internet activity and buying hunting knives. He was observed the moment he launched his attack
Image: NZHerald / Alex Burton)
The ISIS-inspired “lone wolf” was shot dead by police after a maniacal knife attack in a New Zealand supermarket that had been watched by police for years.
Known only as “S”, 32, he was monitored around the clock as he walked into the store in an Auckland mall, snatched a knife from a shelf and started attacking shoppers, police say.
Frightened shoppers ran away screaming before officials chasing the attacker approached and shot him within 60 seconds of the victims lying bloodied on the storefront.
Three victims are fighting for their lives in the hospital after the attack on the supermarket in New Lynn, where the Aucklanders went to work under a new Covid lock.
Now, terrifying images of the attacker have surfaced – including one posing with him with air rifle police found in a series of raids sparked by his sinister online activities.
New Zealand Herald)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference that the extremist is a “lone wolf” who carried out an “IS-inspired” terrorist attack that was motivated by a “violent ideology”.
The police confirmed that they have been monitoring the Sri Lankan national for years.
New Zealand media said the 32-year-old could not be kept behind bars after an attempt to prosecute him under the country’s terror laws failed to find a way to jail him for planning an attack.
According to a New Zealand Herald Profile of the attacker, who has not yet been identified for legal reasons, ‘S’ has been classified as a public safety threat by authorities after buying two large hunting knives and owning ISIS videos.
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He had been in New Zealand for 10 years and was reportedly “under constant surveillance” for his “expressly anti-Western and violent” social media posts.
The newspaper reports that he had drawn the authorities’ attention back in 2016 in repeated anti-Western and violent social media posts, including his support for ISIS terrorist attacks in Europe.
But authorities had struggled to keep him locked up before Friday’s devastating attack.
According to the newspaper, ‘S’ was convicted of possession of propaganda material in support of Islamic State only in May this year after prosecutors failed to convict him on more serious terrorist charges.
He was reportedly acquitted of other charges of owning a video showing the beheading of a prisoner and possession of an assault weapon.
The trial has reportedly been reported from his sinister Internet research – including videos describing how to make explosives, “lone wolves mujahideen,” searches for a hunting knife, camouflage pants, ISIS robe, and New Zealand prison clothing and food.
During his trial, ‘S’ reportedly told the jury, “You’re worried about a knife, I’m telling you I’m going to buy 10 knives. It’s about my rights.”
He was reportedly sentenced to one year of custody to be served in an Auckland mosque.
‘S’ remained under constant police surveillance and authorities reportedly found that he had investigated another New Zealand ISIS supporter.
Although he was formally warned by the police, he is said to have posted a threat on Facebook at some point to return to Sri Lanka and “find kiwi scraps”.
Police said ‘S’ told a fellow prayer at a mosque that he was planning to join ISIS in Syria and was arrested at an airport after booking a one-way ticket to Singapore.
A raid on his home reportedly found material glorifying violence, pictures of him posing with an air rifle and a giant hunting knife hidden under his mattress.
He eventually pleaded guilty to the charges of circulating restricted material, but a judge sentenced him to custody in 2018 because of the time he had already spent behind bars waiting for the charges.
According to the Herald, the day after he was released, he bought another hunting knife and the anti-terrorism police who monitored him arrested him again.
Police officers also ransacked his home and found more violent material, including an ISIS graphic video of the killing of “infidels” showing a masked man cutting a prisoner’s throat and wrists.
A High Court judge denied an attempt to indict him under the Terrorist Laws as he found no provision in New Zealand’s existing law to prosecute him for planning or preparing an attack.
Instead, the police were forced to monitor him constantly and chased him as he walked into the supermarket in the LynnMall on Friday afternoon and pulled a knife from a shelf.
“We did absolutely everything to monitor him and the fact that we could intervene so quickly in about 60 seconds shows how closely we have been watching him,” said Police Commissioner Andrew Coster at a press conference.
The attack shocked a country where terrorist attacks are extremely rare. The nation is still suffering from the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre in 2019.
A white racist was imprisoned for life after killing 51 Muslim believers in two mosques in the country’s deadliest mass shooting.