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2024-04-14 20:33:40

Suspect of Sydney shopping center knife attack identified

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Suspect of Sydney shopping center knife attack identified

A knife-wielding man who killed six people in a Sydney shopping centre before being shot dead has been identified by Australian police.

Joel Cauchi, 40, sent the crowded Westfield Bondi Junction complex into panic on Saturday when he began stabbing people with a long blade, reports BBC.

Five women and a man died. Several others, including a baby, were injured.

Authorities said the attack was most likely "related to the mental health" of Mr Cauchi.

Asked whether she believes he was targeting women, New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb told reporters on Sunday it would be "an obvious line of inquiry".

But she added she would not describe the stabbings as an "act of terror", reiterating that police believed there was "no ideological motivation".

Mr Cauchi was previously known to police but had never been arrested or charged in his home state Queensland. He had lived itinerantly for several years and was first diagnosed with a mental illness at 17, Queensland Police said.

His family described his actions as "horrific" and said he had had mental health issues "since he was a teenager", in a statement released through Queensland Police.

The Cauchi family said: "We are absolutely devastated by the traumatic events that occurred in Sydney yesterday.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims and those still undergoing treatment at this time.

"Joel's actions were truly horrific, and we are still trying to comprehend what has happened."

They added they were in touch with police and had "no issues" with the officer who shot Mr Cauchi.

"She was only doing her job to protect others, and we hope she is coping alright."

Initial searches of a small storage unit Mr Cauchi owned in Sydney had not shed light on a possible motive, NSW Police said.

Bd-pratidin English/Lutful Hoque

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