Sydney stabbing: seven people dead, including attacker shot by police at Bondi Junction shopping centre

<span>Police and paramedics outside the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre in Sydney. Six people have been killed and the injured include a nine-month-old baby.</span><span>Photograph: Steve Markham/AAP</span>
Police and paramedics outside the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre in Sydney. Six people have been killed and the injured include a nine-month-old baby.Photograph: Steve Markham/AAP

Six people have been killed and numerous others injured, including some in critical condition, after a man went on a stabbing spree at a Westfield shopping centre in the Sydney suburb of Bondi Junction.

The attacker was shot dead after being chased by a lone police officer who was on duty on an unrelated matter.

The injured include a nine-month-old baby. The baby’s mother, killed by the attacker, has been widely named by Australian media as Ash Good, aged 38.

The New South Wales police commissioner, Karen Webb, said in a press conference on Saturday evening the attacker was a 40-year-old man but he was yet to be formally identified. Police did not believe his motive was related to terrorism, she said.

“If it is the person we believe it is, we don’t have fear for that person holding an ideation,” Webb said. “In other words, that it’s not a terrorism incident.

“We believe that this person acted alone and there’s no ongoing threat to the community.”

A major incident was declared at the shopping centre on Saturday afternoon after the man, who had earlier left the complex, returned with what witnesses have described as a large blade just before 3.30pm.

One witness reported seeing the man, dressed in an Australian rugby league jersey and shorts, moving calmly through the shopping centre.

“He was walking like he was having an ice-cream in the park,” the witness told ABC News.

He began stabbing shoppers in a fashion that seemed random, police said.


Four women and one man died at the scene, Webb said, while others were taken to hospital.

Several witnesses recalled seeing a mother holding her baby in need of help. One man told 9 News he had held the baby as he and others tried to compress its wounds with any clothing they could find, while the mother was suffering more significant bleeding.

The mother, Good, died later on Saturday night after being taken to hospital.

The nine-month-old had surgery and was among eight injured being treated in hospitals across Sydney on Saturday night.

Sky News Australia reporter Laura Jayes, who was reporting on the incident from Bondi Junction, said on air that she knew the mother who had been killed.

“She was so excited to be a new mother and all of that was ripped away in seconds,” she said.

Another witness reported seeing a woman lying on the floor of the Chanel shop covered in blood.

Mobile phone footage from inside the six-storey shopping centre showed one shopper confronting the attacker on an escalator with a bollard.

Panicked shoppers alerted police to the attack, including one officer who had been on duty for an unrelated reason.

She chased the attacker to the fifth floor of the centre.

“He turned, faced her, raised a knife. She discharged a firearm and that person is now deceased,” the assistant police commissioner Anthony Cooke told reporters. Three shots were fired.

The Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, condemned what he called a “horrific act of violence” but said the officer was a “hero” and praised first responders and bystanders who rushed into danger to help victims.

“There is no doubt that she saved lives through her action,” Albanese said in Canberra on Saturday evening. “And it is a reminder that those people who wear uniform are people who rush to danger, not away from it.

“This was a horrific act of violence indiscriminately targeted at the innocent people going about an ordinary Saturday, doing their shopping.”

The NSW premier, Chris Minns, who was on holiday, announced he would return to Sydney immediately.

As the alarm was raised and the centre went into lockdown, shoppers hid inside stores. Santiago, an employee at the Harris Farm supermarket, said his instincts had kicked in and he ushered people inside and shut the shop. Others hid in the Apple Store, which was at street level, for about an hour.

Related: At Bondi Westfield someone said: ‘There’s been a stabbing, we have to go.’ I could see in her face it was real

Shoppers in the multi-level David Jones department store said they were hiding in changing rooms, and were receiving conflicting messages about when to evacuate the centre.

Thousands spilled on to the streets around the centre as they were evacuated, as multiple TV crews arrived.

Teams of heavily armed tactical response police units combed the shopping centre in search of a rumoured further attacker but ultimately ruled out that possibility.

Some shoppers hid in various levels of the complex, waiting to be evacuated.

One woman from the nearby suburb of Clovelly, who asked not to be named, told Guardian Australia: “We had to run and hide in a location on the floor, which turned out to be a storeroom.

“There would have been about 70 or 80 of us in there. We were told to keep our phones on silent and stay quiet. It was very hot in there.”

“There was quite a bit of confusion throughout the hour that we were in there, with some orders being to evacuate and other orders to stay put.

“At one stage we were evacuated and then told to run back inside. Staff did their best they could in the circumstances. Then we were told to evacuate and ran out of the centre.”

Jason, a shopper evacuated from the centre, told 9 News he had seen the alleged attacker with a “nice big blade”.

Related: Bondi Junction stabbing attack – what we know so far

“Everyone started running toward the end of the building,” he said.

Jason said he had later witnessed police shoot the alleged attacker.

“She shot him,” he said. “When the copper shot him, she was giving him CPR.”

Roy Huberman was in a clothes shop changing room when he heard two shots, followed by fire alarms. Staff moved customers to the back of the shop and out of a back door, where he saw a huge emergency response. “We saw ambulances, about eight police cars, riot police, helicopters hovering from above,” Huberman said.

“Some young women were crying and they were saying that they spoke to a little girl who saw a dead body. I saw people running across Oxford Street and the police came and cordoned it off.”

Webb said the shopping centre would be closed on Sunday.