New Zealand police on Friday (Sept 3) shot and killed a “violent extremist” who was known to the police after he stabbed and wounded at least six people in a supermarket in the city of Auckland.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “A violent extremist undertook a terrorist attack on innocent New Zealanders.”

What to know about the New Zealand terror attack

  • The attack unfolded at about 2:40 p.m. at a Countdown supermarket in New Zealand’s largest city.
  • The attacker was a Sri Lankan national who had been in New Zealand for 10 years
  • The man was killed within 60 seconds of beginning the attack and he had been inspired by the Islamic State militant group.
  • Three of the shoppers were taken to Auckland hospitals in critical condition, police said. Another was in serious condition, while two more were in moderate condition.
  • Witnesses told reporters outside the mall they had seen several people lying on the floor with stab wounds. Other said they heard gunshots as they ran out of the supermarket.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the incident was a terror attack.

Ardern said she had been personally briefed on the man in the past but there had been no legal reason for him to be detained.

“Had he done something that would have allowed us to put him into prison, he would have been in prison,” Ardern said.

Ardern said the attack was violent and senseless, and she was sorry it had happened.

“What happened today was despicable. It was hateful. It was wrong,” Ardern said. “It was carried out by an individual. Not a faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity. But an individual person who is gripped by ideology that is not supported here by anyone or any community.”

Ardern said the man had first moved to New Zealand in 2011 and had been monitored by security agencies since 2016. She said authorities are confident he acted alone in the attack.

Ardern said legal constraints prevented her from discussing everything that she wanted to about the case, but she was hoping to have those constraints lifted soon.