Police in Australia identify the Sydney stabbing attacker who killed 6 people


SYDNEY (AP) — Police have identified the assailant who stabbed six people to death at a busy Sydney shopping center before he was fatally shot by a police officer.

New South Wales Police said Sunday that Joel Cauchi, 40, was responsible for the Saturday afternoon attack at the Westfield Shopping Centre in Bondi Junction, in the city’s eastern suburbs and not far from the world-famous Bondi Beach.

NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Anthony Cooke told reporters at a media conference on Sunday that Cauchi suffered from yet unspecified mental health issues and police investigators weren’t treating the attack as terrorism-related.

“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.

“There is still, to this point… no information we have received, no evidence we have recovered, no intelligence that we have gathered that would suggest that this was driven by any particular motivation – ideology or otherwise,” he added.

The attack at the shopping center, one of the country’s busiest and which was a hub of activity on a particularly warm fall afternoon, began around 3:10 p.m. and police were swiftly called.

Six people, five women and one man, were killed in the attack and 12 others were injured, including a 9-month-old child, whose mother died during the attack.

Two of the six victims were from overseas and have no family in Australia, Cooke said on Sunday.

Video footage shared online appears to show many people fleeing as a knife-wielding Cauchi walked through the shopping center and lunging at people.

Other footage shows a man confronting the attacker on an escalator in the shopping center by holding what appeared to be a post towards him.

Cauchi was shot dead by a lone female police officer at the scene.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said the officer was doing well under the circumstances and will be interviewed on Sunday.

“She showed enormous courage and bravery,” Webb said, adding other responding police, civilians and staff at the center had too. “It was an awful situation … but it could have been much worse.”

The shopping center remains closed on Sunday and will be an active crime scene for days, police said.

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