‘She is a hero’: Australia PM hails cop who shot attacker

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People and police at Bondi JunctionImage source, Getty Images

An Australian police officer has been hailed as a hero by the country’s prime minister, after she confronted and shot dead a man who fatally stabbed six people at a Sydney shopping centre.

“There is no doubt that she saved lives,” PM Anthony Albanese said, calling Saturday’s attack “a horrific act of violence”.

Police described how the unnamed officer bravely tracked the attacker through the mall, challenged him and shot him dead after he raised his knife towards her.

“A man walked into Westfield at Bondi Junction… as he moved through the centre he engaged with about nine people,” Anthony Cooke, assistant commissioner of New South Wales Police, said.

“It is clear that during that engagement he caused harm to those people… stabbing them with a weapon he was carrying.

“Very clearly a range of reports were made on the incident, police attended promptly – a single unit officer, inspector of police, was nearby, attended, and went into the centre directed by a range of people.

“She confronted the offender who had moved, by this stage, to level five.

“As she continued to walk quickly behind to catch up with him he turned to face her, raised a knife, she discharged a firearm and that person is now deceased.”

two female police officers

Image source, Getty Images

A shopper, who was not named, also described the moment the officer confronted the knifeman.

“He just started floating towards us and all I heard was ‘put it down’ and then she shot him,” he told ABC New Australia.

“But we were in no doubt, if she didn’t shoot him, he would have kept going. He was on the rampage.

“Then she walked over and gave him CPR. He had a big blade on him – she chucked the knife away. He looked like he was on a killing spree.”

‘People who wear uniform rush to danger’

Eight victims, including a nine-month-old, remain in hospital after the rampage.

The baby is receiving surgery and its mother is believed to be among the dead, according to local media. Police have confirmed that five of the six killed in the attack were women.

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The female inspector had been in Bondi Junction conducting routine duties when she heard reports of the events unfolding.

She was the first on scene, police say, and was quickly directed by shoppers to the fifth floor of the complex.

Mr Albanese later described it as “a reminder that those people who wear uniform are people who rush to danger, not away from it”.

The head of the state’s police force, Karen Webb, also commended the officer’s “enormous courage” and said she was now “doing well under the circumstances”.

While little has been made public about the assailant or his motives, police have confirmed that the 40-year-old was known to them.

Bondi Junction, which is down the road from the iconic beachside suburb of Bondi, is home to one of the most popular shopping districts in Australia.

And like most Saturdays it had been packed with visitors, including families and young children, when reports of a lone attacker carrying a “massive” knife spread like wildfire.

As people began to blockade themselves in shops and run for cover, some tried to hold off the assailant.

“I saw this one guy fighting with the killer. He was holding the pole, trying to throw a pole at the escalator,” 19-year-old Rashdan Aqashah – who was working in a COS clothing store at the time – told the BBC.

Footage appearing to capture the incident has since attracted thousands of views.

Mr Albanese said that the way everyday Australians responded to the violence in Bondi Junction, whether running towards it or helping to stem the bleeding of victims, was a testament to their “humanity” and “heroism”.

Additional reporting by Katy Watson in Sydney

This post was originally published on this site

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