‘Hero’ policewoman shot and killed knifeman in Sydney shopping centre

A “heroic” policewoman who stopped a lone knifeman mid-rampage during a killing spree in a Sydney shopping centre has been named.

In one of several heroic attempts to disarm the attacker on Saturday, Amy Scott, a NSW Police Inspector, walked up calmly behind the attacker and ordered him to drop his weapon.

When he refused to do so and lunged at her with a knife, she shot him.

Six people were killed after the culprit – later identified by police as Queensland man Joel Cauchi – went on a stabbing spree in Westfield Bondi Junction, including a mother whose baby is reportedly now in a critical condition.

“She is certainly a hero. There is no doubt that she saved lives through her action,” Anthony Albanese, the Australian prime minister, said on Saturday.

Michael Dunkley, a cafe owner who was working nearby, witnessed the moment Ms Scott shot the attacker in the chest.

Mr Dunkley told local media the policewoman said “drop the knife” before the stabber lunged at her with a 15cm-long blade.

“She was put in a situation where she had to do it. She did it so calmly. She was amazing,” he told News Corp.

Ms Scott gave CPR to the attacker after the shooting.

Amy Scott, a NSW Police Inspector, at the scene
Amy Scott, a NSW Police Inspector, at the scene

Anthony Cooke, assistant commissioner of New South Wales Police, Ms Scott “confronted the offender”.

“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.”

He added: “This all happened very, very quickly - the officer that was in the vicinity attended on her own and was guided to the location of the offender by people who were in the centre.

“She took the actions that she did saving a range of people’s lives; (she was) an inspector, a senior police officer - she was on her own.

“She engaged immediately on her arrival to the scene.”

Ashley Good has been named as the first victim
Ashley Good has been named as the first victim

A shopper, who was not named, told ABC News of the moment he was shot: “He just started floating towards us and all I heard was ‘put it down’ and then she shot him.

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

The shopper added: “Then she walked over and gave him CPR. He had a big blade on him - she chucked the knife away.”

The police officer, who has not been named, was “enormously courageous, as were other police officers that attended,” Karen Webb, New South Wales police commissioner told reporters.

“It was an awful situation…but it could have been much worse.”

The officer “is okay, her family is okay and she’s got everything she needs for the time being”, added Ms Webb.

Several other people also intervened to try to stop the attacker and help those being assaulted.

Footage posted online showed a male shopper on an escalator confronting the assailant with a bollard.

Video showed the man almost coming face to face with the killer and he used the bollard to prevent the attacker from walking up the escalator to the next level of the shopping centre.

The man was lauded on social media as a “brave Australian”.

Others helped those who were injured by the stabbing spree.

Andy Reid, a Bondi lifeguard, immediately went into rescue mode when he saw a heavily bleeding mother with her nine-month-old baby.

“The baby got stabbed. The mum got stabbed and came over with a baby and threw it at me - I was holding the baby, it looked pretty bad,” he told Nine News.

“We were just shopping and saw the man run up to the woman with the baby and then we were both ready to go and help out.

“But I just said to my brother, we’ve got to run in - ran in, told the guys to lock up the doors and then the mother came with the baby bleeding, stabbed. We got them into the store and just got them safe and then rang for help.”

Mr Reid said he had witnessed some “pretty gnarly stuff” during his 20 years as a lifeguard but had seen “nothing like” what happened at the shopping centre.

He described it as “unbelievable” and “a cowardly attack”.

His brother said: “He helped with holding the baby and trying to compress the baby and same with the mother.

“We just kept yelling out to get some clothes, get some shirts and just help us to compress and stop the baby from bleeding.”

The mother is reported to have since died from her injuries.

The baby is undergoing surgery after being stabbed in the stomach, according to reports.

Ms Webb said: “The last update I had was that it (the baby) had been in surgery and it’s too early to say really. But it’s awful.”

Shocked shoppers flee the scene
Shocked shoppers flee the scene of the attack - RICK RYCROFT/AP
Armed police at the scene
Armed police were dispatched to the centre after the reports of the stabbing - DAVID GRAY/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Police said they had not established a motive for the attack but suggested that it was not terrorism-related.

Five of the victims were women, police said.

The 40-year-old suspect is believed to have been known to the police.

“We are waiting to formally identify him and cannot speculate yet on his identification,” Ms Webb told reporters.

She added, “Let me assure you that we are confident  there is no ongoing risk and we are dealing with one person who is now deceased.”

Reece Kershaw, Australian Federal Police commissioner, said they were providing digital forensics capabilities to help with the unfolding investigation.

“It is too early to determine a motive and it would be unhelpful to speculate,” he said.