Sydney attacker identified, ‘no terror motive’


The police in Australia said on Sunday that a 40-year-old homeless man with mental problems is responsible for a knife attack at a shopping center in Sydney. At least six people died, including a new mother whose nine-month-old baby is still in hospital with serious injuries.

Anthony Cooke, deputy commissioner of the police in New South Wales, said the attacker, who was shot dead by a senior police officer at the scene on Saturday, was Joel Cauchi from Queensland.

Five women and one male security guard were killed in the attack when Cauchi ran through the busy shopping center in the city’s Bondi Junction neighborhood with a large knife. Twelve people are still in hospital.

“It was frightening to hear people screaming like that,” said eyewitness Daphi Kiselstein, who was in the center during the attack and sought shelter with others in a shop.

Cooke said there was no evidence that Cauchi was “fueled by any particular motivation, ideology or anything else”.

“We know that the perpetrator had some mental problems,” he added.

Cauchi was tracked down and shot dead by police officer Amy Scott. She was immediately described by Australia’s prime minister as a “heroine who saved many lives”.

Cauchi’s parents said their son had been staying in a vehicle and hostels for the past while and only occasionally sent them text messages.

According to the police, he was diagnosed with mental problems when he was 17 years old, but there is no indication why he suddenly became violent.

His parents issued a statement through the police to express their condolences to their son’s victims and their families.

They also sent a message “of support” to the officer who shot him dead with their concern for her well-being.

Queensland Police said Cauchi had several contacts with the police over the past four to five years, but was never arrested or charged with anything.

He presumably traveled to Sydney a month ago and rented a small storage space in the city. It contains some of his personal belongings.

The attack left residents, unaccustomed to violent crime, in shock.

The shopping center near a famous beach is popular among residents.

Among the victims was the 38-year-old mother, Ashlee Good, who succumbed to her injuries after she desperately handed over her baby to two strangers so that they could save the child’s life.

Good’s family described her as “a beautiful mother, daughter, sister and friend”.

The baby, named Harriet, is recovering well after a long operation.

Two of the victims have no family in Australia. Efforts are being made to contact their relatives overseas.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says Australians are struggling to understand this “unspeakable attack”. Among others, he received messages from US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Christopher Luxon.

King Charles III of England and his wife Camilla also expressed their shock at the attack. Crown Prince William and his wife Catherine also shared a message on Twitter: “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this, including the loved ones of those who died, and the heroic emergency services staff who put their own lives on the line to help others save.”