What we know about the man behind Auckland supermarket terrorist attack

Source: 1News

The man who was shot and killed in a New Lynn Countdown today after injuring multiple people was under 24/7 police surveillance and was a violent extremist.

The man was killed by police today at Countdown LynnMall after taking a knife from the supermarket shelves and assaulting people inside the store.

Police deliberately distracted the man to get his attention, who in turn charged at the officers. It is understood the officers then shot him.

A St John spokesperson told 1 NEWS five ambulances and three rapid response units were called to the scene at 2.40pm.

Six innocent people were attacked, three seriously in what is understood to be an ISIS-inspired attack. 

At a press conference Friday, Jacinda Ardern said the man was “a known threat to New Zealand”.

Ardern said the man was a Sri Lankan national who arrived in New Zealand in October 2011 but became a person of interest from 2016.

He was inspired by ISIS, Ardern said, and had a violent ideology. 

The reasons he is known to agencies is subject to court suppression orders, but thee Prime Minister said it was her view that it was in the public interest to share as much information as possible.

By law, he was not able to be kept in prison. 

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster provided more detail, saying the man was “under heavy surveillance over concerns about his ideology”.

He travelled from Glen Eden to New Lynn closely watched by surveillance teams and tactical teams.

“When the commotion started, two police tactical operators moved to the scene and engaged him. When he approached with a knife he was shot and killed.

“The reality is when you are surveilling someone over 24 hour periods its not possible to be close to him all the time,” Coster said.

Police unaware of offender's intentions

Ardern said there will be “multiple inquiries” into the incident.

Coster said police were unaware of any intent of today’s terrorist attack nor the extent of it.

“Based on our surveillance what we could tell is that he was undertaking what appeared to be a normal shopping expedition.

“However clearly we have been concerned about his ideology and that’s why he was under surveillance and with a company of tactical teams.

Coster said the man had been very “surveillance conscious and surveillance teams working with an offender over an extended period of weeks need to maintain sufficient distance for that surveillance to remain effective.

He said teams were “as close as possibly could be without compromising the surveillance operation”.

Ardern says suppression orders are in place over the man’s criminal history but says she’s preparing a timeline over “the man’s interactions with agencies and the law”.

“I think it’s in everyone’s best interest” to share that with you, Ardern said.

She said she was confident the man was a lone-wolf offender. She said he was known to "multiple agencies" and was "personally aware of him".