Shopkeepers and staff at a New Zealand supermarket were praised for their bravery, with three of them seriously injured after authorities said they were able to prevent one person from injuring others after stabbing four in an attack.
New Zealand Superintendent of Police Paul Basham said he had seen CCTV footage of the attack on a countdown supermarket in Dunedin and that the spectators’ actions in detaining the man until police arrived were “no less heroic”.
“What I can say is that those who intervened, some of them wounded themselves, I think this man acted selflessly and with great courage to prevent anyone else from being hurt,” he said.
Two of the injured were supermarket employees.
Police said the suspect was also injured and was being treated in police custody for his injuries. Police said they then expect him to be charged.
Those in the store at the time told local media that it was a confusing scene, with some screaming and running towards the exit, while others rushed to help.
Prime Minister Jacinta Artern said the motive for the attack had not been established, but police had no evidence to suggest it was domestic terrorism.
“Needless to say, an attack like this is huge, and I would like to acknowledge the early reports of courageous actions by the audience who took action to protect those around them,” Ms. Atern said. “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this attack.”
Health officials said three of the injured had been admitted to the intensive care unit at Dunedin Hospital.
“We are shocked by what happened at our Dunedin Central store this afternoon,” Countdown said in a statement.
“Now our priority is to take care of our injured team members and our broader team in the aftermath of this very traumatic event. We are deeply saddened by the injuries of customers who tried to help our team members.”
Dunedin has a population of about 130,000.