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New Zealand authorities said on Friday they shot and killed a violent extremist after he entered a supermarket and stabbed and injured six shoppers.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the incident as a terrorist attack. She said the man was a Sri Lankan citizen who was inspired by the Islamic State group. She said he was well known to the nation’s security agencies and was being monitored 24 hours a day.
She said that by law, the man could not remain in prison.
Ardern said three of those who had been stabbed were seriously injured.
“This was a violent attack. It didn’t make sense,” Ardern said. “And I’m very sorry that it happened.”
The attack unfolded around 2:40 p.m. at a Countdown supermarket in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland.
Ardern said that because the man was under constant surveillance, a police surveillance team and a special tactics group were able to shoot and kill him within 60 seconds of the attack.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said they were concerned about the man’s ideology and were keeping a close eye on him. Coster said they followed him from his home to the supermarket on Friday.
Causes of Death
Coster said that when the commotion began, two police officers from the special tactics group rushed in. He said the man approached the police with the knife and that is why they shot him and killed him.
A video of a passerby taken from inside the supermarket records the sound of 10 shots in rapid succession.
Ardern said legal restrictions prevented him from discussing everything he wanted about the case, but he hoped those restrictions would be lifted soon.
Some shoppers at the supermarket reportedly tried to help the injured with towels and diapers.
“For everyone who was there and witnessed such a horrible event, I can’t imagine how they will feel afterward,” Ardern said. “But thank you for helping those who needed you when they needed you.”
Auckland is currently in a strict lockdown as it battles a coronavirus outbreak. Most businesses are closed and people are usually able to leave their homes only to buy food, for medical needs, or to exercise.