An ISIS-inspired terrorist who was shot dead by police after stabbing an Auckland shopping center had previously made chilling threats about giving ‘refunds to Kiwi scum’ – but got away with only a police warning.
Six people are fighting for their lives in hospitals on New Zealand’s North Island on Friday afternoon, while the knifeman was shot dead by police within 60 seconds at the Countdown supermarket in New Lynn, in the south of the city.
Three of the victims were described as ‘critical’ with neck and chest wounds.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed on Friday that the 32-year-old Sri Lankan citizen, known only as ‘S’ for legal reasons, was considered one of the country’s most dangerous extremists and had been watched 24/7 since 2016.
He arrived in New Zealand in 2011, but alone became known to police in 2016 after posting “solidly anti-Western and violent” material on Facebook, including images of war-related violence, the NZ Herald reported.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed on Friday that the 32-year-old Sri Lankan citizen (pictured) was considered one of the country’s most dangerous extremists and had been under 24/7 surveillance since 2016. He arrived in New Zealand in 2011
Six people died Friday afternoon in hospitals in New Zealand’s North Island, while the knifeman died at the Countdown supermarket in New Lynn.
Police let him off with a warning, but he remained active online.
“One day I’ll go back to my country and find kiwi scum in my country…and I’ll show them…what will happen if you mess with S while I’m in their country.” If you’re tough in your country… we’re tougher in our country scum #payback,” S wrote on Facebook.
A year later, in 2017, S was detained at Auckland International Airport while traveling on a one-way ticket to Singapore.
Police claim he told worshipers at his mosque that he intended to join ISIS.
A large hunting knife had been found in his apartment when police searched him, along with a photo of him with an air rifle and other images glorifying violence.
S was detained for a year and eventually pleaded guilty to charges of distributing prohibited material.
The day after he was released in August 2018, he bought another hunting knife and was arrested again.
When police searched his home again, they found more disturbing footage, including a video of Islamic State slitting a prisoner’s throat.
Prosecutors tried to charge S under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 last year, but a Supreme Court ruled that planning a terrorist attack was not considered a criminal offence.
He was prosecuted on lower charges and found guilty of possessing propaganda-style material that supported the Islamic State, before being sentenced to a year of surveillance to be served in a mosque.
Ms Ardern described Friday’s attack as “despicable”.
“What happened today was despicable, hateful and wrong,” she said. “It was performed by a person, not by any creed or religion. He was gripped by a violent and ISIS-inspired ideology that is not supported here.”
‘ISIS INSPIRED’ THE TERRORIST’S CRIMINAL PAST
The knifeman who was shot and killed in a Countdown supermarket on Friday was known to police and politicians for his extremist views, which were largely inspired by terror group ISIS.
The man, known only as ‘S’ due to Supreme Court repression, arrived in New Zealand from Sri Lanka in 2011 and was first placed on the terror list in 2016 after authorities were warned of extremist posts he posted on social media. had posted.
Some of the videos he shared online showed war-related violence, a clear endorsement of violent extremism and his support for ISIS, the New Zealand Herald reported.
He received an official warning from the police, but continued to post the material, including a comment that read: “One day I’ll go back to my country and find kiwi scum in my country… and I’ll show them… what will happen if you mess with S while I’m in their country. If you’re tough in your country… we’re tougher in our country scum #payback’.
‘S’ reportedly told a worshiper at a mosque that he hoped to join ISIS in Syria and was detained at Auckland International Airport in 2017 after booking a one-way flight to Singapore.
He spent a year in custody before pleading guilty to distributing restricted material, which led to him being placed under surveillance in 2018.
The day after he was released from prison, ‘S’ was arrested by the counter-terrorism police who followed him when he bought a hunting knife.
The internet search history reportedly found that he had investigated how “non-believers” could be murdered.
Police hoped to prosecute ‘S’ under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, but it was determined that preparing a terrorist attack was not a criminal offense under the law as he had committed no attacks.
He was prosecuted on lesser charges of possessing propaganda in support of ISIS.
During his trial, “S” is said to have told the jury, “You’re worried about one knife, I’m telling you I’m going to buy 10 knives. It’s about my rights.’
Six people were rushed to hospitals in New Zealand’s North Island on Friday afternoon, while the knifeman died at the Countdown supermarket in New Lynn.
Customers fled supermarket and witnesses reported chaotic scenes as police shot the knifeman
A surveillance team and a special tactics group kept an eye on the man at all times, and plainclothes officers were able to respond within 60 seconds as he launched his frenzy.
The man is believed to have taken a knife from the store.
Mrs Ardern reiterated that if the perpetrator had committed a crime in the past that would have allowed the authorities to put him in prison, ‘where he would have been’.
“The reason he was in the community is because by law we couldn’t place him anywhere else. His past behavior, within the bounds of the law, was not enough to put him in jail.”
S had reportedly searched the internet for guidelines on ‘lone-wolf mujahideen’, knife attacks and prison conditions in New Zealand.
Disturbing footage of the attack was shared online, showing customers running to safety as at least 10 police units flooded the surrounding streets.
A witness said Stuff “walked out hysterically, just screaming, screaming, scared” when an elderly man lay injured on the floor and a middle-aged woman was stabbed in the shoulder.
Due to suppression orders already in effect, Prime Minister says there is information about the man’s identity (pictured) and past that cannot yet be revealed
The perpetrator reportedly acted “crazy” and jumped randomly at anyone who got in his way, the witness said.
Another woman said she heard police ordering the perpetrator to surrender before five shots were fired.
Two officers were involved in shooting him.
The three victims who remain in critical condition were rushed to Auckland City hospital, along with a fourth person in serious condition.
One victim was taken to Waitakere Hospital in stable condition, while another was rushed to Middlemore Hospital.
Two of the victims were rushed to abdominal surgery.
At least 20 hectic Countdown customers fled to safety at the nearby Unichem pharmacy, which was already packed with about 45 patients waiting for their Covid shot.
At least 10 police units quickly arrived and surrounded the shopping area before the knifeman was shot dead
The staff immediately locked the doors and called for help.
“It wasn’t a fun scenario. Everyone was quite shocked and worried, but everyone is doing well,” said one employee.
At least 10 police units quickly arrived and surrounded the shopping area before the knifeman was shot dead.
Roads in and out of the area were closed and helicopters are circling nearby.
Kiri Hannifin, Countdown supermarket’s general safety manager, released a statement Friday afternoon saying her heart was “heavy knowing what our team and customers have seen.”
“We are very sorry that something like this has happened again in one of our stores. It’s hard to comprehend and today’s events leave our entire team in deep shock,” she said.
“The safety of our team and our customers is always our priority, and it is at the heart of our COVID-19 response. We will work with the police in every possible way to understand what happened, and we are unable to provide further details at this time.”
The store will be closed until further notice.