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6 dead, suspect killed after stabbing attack at shopping center in Sydney, Australia; multiple people injured

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Sydney mall attacker might have targeted women 00:42

Police have identified the assailant who stabbed six people to death at a busy Sydney shopping center before he was fatally shot by a police officer.

New South Wales Police said Sunday that Joel Cauchi, 40, was responsible for the Saturday afternoon attack at the Westfield Shopping Centre in Bondi Junction, in the city's eastern suburbs and not far from the world-famous Bondi Beach. 

Australia Stabbing
A crowd gathers outside Westfield Shopping Centre in Sydney, Saturday, April 13, 2024. Media reports say multiple people have been stabbed and that the police shot a person at the Sydney shopping center. Rick Rycroft / AP

NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Anthony Cooke told reporters at a media conference on Sunday that Cauchi suffered from 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," Cooke said.

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

APTOPIX Australia Stabbing
People are led out from the Westfield Shopping Centre where multiple people were stabbed in Sydney, Saturday, April 13, 2024. A man stabbed six people to death at the busy Sydney shopping center Saturday before he was fatally shot, police said. Rick Rycroft / AP

The attack at the shopping center, one of the country's busiest and which was a hub of activity on a particularly warm fall afternoon, began around 3:10 p.m. and police were swiftly called.

Six people — five women and one man, aged between 20 and 55 — were killed in the attack, and 12 others remain in hospital, including a 9-month-old child, whose mother died during the attack.

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

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

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

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

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the officer was "certainly a hero" who's actions had saved many more lives.

"The wonderful inspector who ran into danger by herself and removed the threat that was there to others, without thinking about the risks to herself," he said.

"We also see the footage of ordinary Australians putting themselves in harm's way in order to help their fellow citizens. That bravery was quite extraordinary that we saw yesterday," he added.

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

In Britain, the Prince and Princess of Wales posted on X that they were "shocked and saddened" by the stabbings in Sydney. Prince William and his wife Kate, who are royals in Australia, said their thoughts were with those affected and the "heroic emergency responders who risked their own lives to save others."

Britain's King Charles III also posted on X, saying he and his wife Queen Camilla were "utterly shocked and horrified" by the stabbing

"Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of those who have been so brutally killed during such a senseless attack," the king said.

Pope Francis also expressed his sadness at the "senseless tragedy" in Sydney, offering his "spiritual closeness" to all those affected and prayers for the dead and injured. The message was contained in a telegram to Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher and sent by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's secretary of state.

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