New details emerge about 'extremely traumatic' stabbing rampage

·3-min read

Witnesses who were inside the supermarket when a man stabbed several people have revealed new details of the horrifying ordeal.

On Monday, at around 2.30pm local time, authorities were called to a Countdown supermarket in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Five people, including the offender were taken to hospital, after the man stabbed people inside the supermarket.

Countdown spokeswoman Kiri Hannafin said two of the injured were employees.

Four people have been injured - three critically - after a man started stabbing shoppers at a Countdown supermarket in New Zealand. Source: Getty Images
Four people have been injured - three critically - after a man started stabbing shoppers at a Countdown supermarket in New Zealand. Source: Getty Images

Witnesses have recounted the horrifying ordeal hours after the attack, which a top policeman described as "traumatising".

One witness told The Project she was at the Countdown store going about her shopping when she heard screaming and swearing.

"I looked up and there was a man stabbing a woman - she had blood around her head," Jenny McDowell said according to Newshub.

"Members of the public came to just restrain him - they were doing everything they could, they were throwing stuff at him."

She explained the alleged offender attacked two bystanders, then "about three or four" other people in the store restrained him.

Supermarket staff embrace as police officers take a victim to an ambulance outside a Countdown supermarket in Dunedin, New Zealand, after a man began stabbing people inside. Source: Christine O'Connor/Otago Daily Times via AP
Supermarket staff embrace as police officers take a victim to an ambulance outside a Countdown supermarket in Dunedin, New Zealand, after a man began stabbing people inside. Source: Christine O'Connor/Otago Daily Times via AP

Ms McDowell described those members of the public who restrained the man as "heroic" and said they were composed the whole time.

She then reportedly tried to use her bag she had on her to assist one of the victims, before one of the supermarket staff used his jersey to apply pressure to the wound.

"The man just kept asking if his wife was OK," she said.

Another witness told Stuff it sounded like someone had fallen over and described the alleged offender as "quite a messy little fellow" with curly hair.

"Then screaming got louder and louder," the witness said.

“We walked past the aisle and we heard someone say, 'he has got a knife', so we just kept moving forward.”

Police take a suspect into custody near the Countdown supermarket in central Dunedin, New Zealand, following an incident at the supermarket. Source: Otago Daily Times via AP
Police take a suspect into custody near the Countdown supermarket in central Dunedin, New Zealand, following an incident at the supermarket. Source: Otago Daily Times via AP

Countdown managing director Spencer Sonn told the NZ Herald the community was in shock, and said the store would remain closed tomorrow.

"Our priority right now is our injured team members and caring for our wider team in the wake of this extremely traumatic event. We are deeply upset that customers who tried to help our team members were also injured."

Police praise bystanders of 'random attack'

Southern District Police Commander Superintendent Paul Basham told the media he had seen CCTV footage of the attack on Monday afternoon.

He described what he saw as "traumatising" and said the actions of the bystanders who restrained the man was "nothing short of heroic".

"I have viewed the CCTV footage, which is quite traumatic," Supt Basham said.

Four people have been injured - three critically - following the attack inDunedin and the alleged offender was also taken to hospital. Source: Getty Images
Four people have been injured - three critically - following the attack inDunedin and the alleged offender was also taken to hospital. Source: Getty Images

"What I can say is that those that intervened, some of who became injured themselves, I think have acted selflessly and with great courage to prevent this man from hurting anybody else and, indeed, I think they did just that."

He also confirmed five people - including the attacker - were taken to Dunedin Hospital on Monday afternoon after the attack.

The alleged offender is under police guard at Dunedin Hospital, and is yet to be formally interviewed or charged, police say.

At this stage, police believe it was a random attack.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the attack "hugely concerning", and said police had advised her there was "nothing at this stage to suggest it was domestic terror".

- with AAP

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