Watch CBS News

Teen arrested over stabbing in Australia church near Sydney that left bishop, several others wounded

A teenager was arrested Monday in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia after a stabbing attack left a Christian bishop and several others wounded inside a church, Australian police said. Police said later that a 15-year-old boy was detained over the stabbing, which shocked people who were watching the bishop deliver his service both inside the building and via a livestream offered by the church. 

New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb said at a Tuesday news conference that "after consideration of all the materials, I declared that it was a terrorist incident."

The state's acting assistant police commissioner Andrew Holland said the suspect was being treated for wounds to his hand. The teen was taken by police to a secure location after the attack, which sparked an angry gathering of church supporters outside the building.

The police said earlier that officers were deployed to an address in the town of Wakeley, "following reports a number of people were stabbed."

"Officers arrested a male and he is assisting police with inquiries. The injured people suffered non-life threatening injuries and are being treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics," a police statement shared with CBS News said.

An unverified video circulating on social media showed a man in black clothing walking toward a bishop at an altar before appearing to stab him repeatedly. People can be seen screaming and rushing toward the man following the attack.

Several people injured in a stabbing in Sydney church, police say
A man stabs Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel during a church service at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley, Sydney, Australia, April 15, 2024, in a still image taken from the church's social media livestream by Rueters. Reuters/Christ The Good Shepherd Church

Christ The Good Shepherd Church, an Assyrian Christian church, has an address that matches the location described by police in their statement. 

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he had been briefed on the incident. 

"As police continue their investigations, Australians are thinking of those who have been injured, the first responders who rushed to help and the police who worked to restore order," Albanese said, adding, "In testing times, Australians stand together."

News of the attack emerged Monday with Australia still reeling from a devastating attack on Saturday when an assailant stabbed six people to death at a busy Sydney shopping center before being fatally shot by a police officer. Saturday's attacker appears to have targeted women, police said, according to CBS News' partner network BBC News. 

The bishop for the church, which streams its services live online, was featured in national news last year, according to The Associated Press, when the Australian Broadcasting Corporation featured it in a report about a campaign targeting the LGBTQ+ community. 

Police work at the scene following a stabbing at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the suburb of Wakeley in Sydney
Police work at the scene following a stabbing at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the Sydney suburb of Wakeley, Australia, April 15, 2024. Staff/REUTERS

The May 2023 Australian TV report showed the bishop, identified on the church's website as Mar Mari Emmanuel, saying in a sermon that "when a man calls himself a woman, he is neither a man nor a woman, you are not a human, then you are an it. Now, since you are an it, I will not address you as a human anymore because it is not my choosing, it your choosing."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.