New Zealand triggers ‘violent extremist terrorist attack’: Jacinda Ardern
“[Police teams] they need to maintain a sufficient distance for surveillance to be effective, so that they are as close as possible without compromising surveillance, ”he said.
Ardern said authorities were not looking for anyone else in connection with the stabbing, and was confident that the man was a lone wolf actor who had a “violent ideology and (was) inspired by ISIS.”
She said she was “absolutely devastated” by the attack, and said there was nothing to indicate the man was going to carry out the attack on Friday.
“I can tell you that the agencies were using every possible means at their disposal to protect the New Zealand public from this individual,” he said.
“Of all the tools we have, constant monitoring and surveillance … is one of the strongest we have, and that’s what was attached to this individual. The fact that he was in the community will be an illustration of the fact that we have not been successful in using the law to the extent that we would have liked.
A witness, Tim, who did not want his last name used, said he saw an elderly man lying on the ground with a stab wound to the abdomen. A middle-aged woman was also stabbed in the shoulder, he said.
Michelle Miller was doing her afternoon shopping when she watched the scene unfold.
She said the man was “running like crazy” and attacking people.
“All I heard was a lot of screaming,” he said.
Miller, who fled the supermarket as police rushed in, said he heard officers order the man to turn himself in and throw himself to the ground before they shot themselves.
The St John New Zealand ambulance service said that three critically ill patients and one patient in serious condition had been taken to Auckland City Hospital. Another moderate patient was at Waitakere Hospital, while a sixth moderate patient was being treated at Middlemore Hospital.
Another witness, Brittany Denyer, was about to park to enter the mall when police officers rushed up to her and told her to “hurry up and evacuate immediately.”
“People were panicking, and it was jammed trying to get out of New Lynn. Police and ambulances [were] Everywhere. Another police officer told me while waiting to be diverted that someone had been stabbed, ”he said.
Denyer, who narrowly avoided being inside the mall when the incident unfolded, said people were fleeing the mall trying to get out of the area.
Videos posted online showed terrified shoppers running out of the mall and seeking cover as the situation unfolded.
There are heavily armed police and ambulances at the scene.
Auckland is currently under a strict stage four lockdown due to a coronavirus outbreak, but people have been queuing outside supermarkets and pharmacies.