At least four people have been stabbed in a supermarket in Dunedin, New Zealand, in what police currently believe to be a “random attack”.
“There is nothing to suggest, from the police’s perspective, that this is what they would define as a domestic terror event,” stressed Jacinda Ardern, the left-liberal prime minister of the British Commonwealth realm, in comments reported by Reuters.
Paul Basham, commander of the Southern District, further confirmed that, while the suspect in the “extremely traumatic” stabbing spree was yet to be charged or given a formal interview, “on the face of what we currently know, we believe this was a random attack”.
“This was a fast-moving and extremely traumatic event for every person in the supermarket — for the victims who were stabbed, for those who were present who tried to intervene, and those who had to flee to a place of safety,” the police officer added.
Eyewitnesses described chaotic scenes, with one woman quoted by the BBC recalling how she “saw one red hand among the people; a bloody hand, and everybody started running towards the exits.”
Nevertheless, reports indicate that the stabber, who is yet to be named or given an official description, was stopped by ordinary shoppers and shop workers, with Superindent Basham describing their actions as “nothing short of heroic”.
“What I can say is that those that intervened, some of whom became injured themselves, I think have acted selflessly and with great courage to prevent this man from hurting anybody else,” he said.
Prime Minister Ardern, too, acknowledged “the really early reports of courageous acts by bystanders who have taken action in order to protect those around them”.
Three of the knifeman’s victims were reported to be in critical condition at the time of publication.
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