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Sydney police identify stabbing attacker who killed six people in mall rampage

Australian police have identified the man who stabbed six people to death at a busy Sydney shopping mall before he was fatally shot by a police officer.

New South Wales Police said on Sunday that Joel Cauchi, 40, was responsible for the Saturday afternoon attack at the Westfield Shopping Centre in Bondi Junction.

NSW assistant police commissioner Anthony Cooke told a press conference that Cauchi suffered from as yet unspecified mental health issues and police investigators weren’t treating the attack as terrorism-related.

“We are continuing to work through the profiling of the offender but very clearly to us at this stage it would appear that this is related to the mental health of the individual involved,” Mr Cooke said.

“There is still, to this point, no information we have received, no evidence we have recovered, no intelligence we have gathered that would suggest that this was driven by any particular motivation, ideology or otherwise,” he added.

The attack took place at one of the country’s busiest shopping centres which was a hub of activity on a particularly warm fall afternoon.

Six people, five women and one man, were killed and 12 people were injured, including a nine-month-old child, whose mother was among those killed.

Two of the six victims were from overseas and have no family in Australia, Mr Cooke said on Sunday.

Video footage shared online appears to show many people fleeing as a knife-wielding Cauchi walked through the shopping centre and lunging at people.

Other footage shows a man confronting the attacker on an escalator in the shopping centre by holding what appeared to be a post towards him.

Cauchi was shot dead by a lone female police officer at the scene.

NSW police commissioner Karen Webb said the officer was doing well under the circumstances and will be interviewed on Sunday.

“She showed enormous courage and bravery,” Ms Webb said, adding other responding police, civilians and staff at the center had too. “It was an awful situation … but it could have been much worse.”

The shopping center remains closed on Sunday and will be an active crime scene for days, police said.


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