National | Andrew Coster

Lone terrorist attack on New Lynn supermarket shoppers; shot dead by police

An Isis supporter, originally from Sri Lanka, was shot dead this afternoon by police officers after he stole a knife and attacked six shoppers at the New Lynn Countdown In Lynnmall, West Auckland.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the man was a violent extremist making a terrorist attack.

“It was a senseless attack on innocent New Zealanders, three of whom were seriously injured,” she told a press conference this evening.

“It was a violent attack by an individual who was a known threat to New Zealand.”

She said the man had been under constant monitoring by multiple agencies and that she had personally been briefed about him.

The man was a Sri Lankan national who had arrived in this country in 2011. He had become a person of national security interest in 2016.

The Prime Minister said there were a number of court suppression orders to do with the man that limited what she could say about him though she promised to seek the information as quickly as possible. She expected many inquiries including a coroner’s report.

Police acted ‘with great courage’

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said the attack at 2:40pm came despite the man being under heavy surveillance over his extremist ideology.

He had been closely watched by a tactical and surveillance team as he travelled from his home in Glen Eden to the supermarket in New Lynn.

“He entered the supermarket where he obtained a knife and began to attack six people,” Coster said.

“I know this raises questions about whether the police could have done more.

“The reality is when you are surveilling someone on a 24-hour basis, it is not possible to be immediately next to them.”

The police commissioner said he was satisfied that the police acted within 60 seconds of the attack starting “and they did so with great courage.”

They immediately shot the man, who died at the scene.