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Sydney stabbing: Police say no ideological motivation

April 14, 2024

Australian authorities, who have identified the attacker in the Sydney stabbing spree, searched his belongings and found no evidence of an impending attack.

A police officer reacts outside the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping mall after a stabbing incident in Sydney
The assailant was said to be a 40-year-old man who had recently moved to SydneyImage: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images

The man who fatally stabbed six people in a Sydney mall had previous mental health issues, the authorities said on Sunday, clarifying that there was no ideological motivation behind the incident.

The police have spoken to the attacker's family, New South Wales Police Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke told a press conference. He was known to the police in the neighboring state of Queensland.

"We are continuing to work through the profiling of the offender but very clearly to us, at this stage, it would appear that this is related to the mental health of the individual involved," Cooke said.

Terrorism did not emerge as a motivation. "There is still to this point, nothing that we have, no information we received, no evidence we have recovered or intelligence that we have gathered that would suggest that this was driven by any particular motivation, ideology or otherwise."

The attacker had recently moved to Sydney. The police searched a small storage facility he had recently rented but found no major evidence to indicate an attack was imminent.

The 40-year-old assailant fatally knifed six people and injured at least 12 before he was shot dead by Inspector Amy Scott, who confronted him solo while he was on the rampage.

Those injured include a nine-month-old baby, who was in a serious but stable condition, according to the police. The baby's mother, Ashlee Good, died in hospital from her injuries, her family said in a statement. 

Knife assailant kills six in Sydney, Australia mall

Stories of horror and bravery

Witnesses described how the assailant — wearing shorts and an Australian national rugby league jersey — ran through the Westfield Bondi Junction mall with a knife and randomly attacked people.

"This was a terrible scene," Cooke said.

By Sunday, more accounts of the incident emerged. Several individuals attempted to stop the attacker who was finally shot by Scott.

"We have seen the footage of ordinary Australians putting themselves in harm's way in order to help their fellow citizens. That bravery was quite extraordinary," Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Sunday.

"It's the best of Australians amidst this tragedy."

New South Wales state Premier Chris Minns also tried to comfort the masses. "The individual stories of those who have been killed, the complete strangers rushing in to help as well as acts of courage and bravery mean that — whether you know the individuals who have been killed or not — you're grieving today," he said. 

Eyewitness accounts of Sydney mall attack

mk/rc (Reuters, DPA)