SYDNEY • A knife-wielding man killed one person and attempted to stab several others in a central Sydney rampage yesterday before being chased and pinned down by members of the public, witnesses told AFP.
Police said the 21-year-old Sydney man, who has a history of mental illness, is believed to have killed a woman around his own age in a residential unit before going on a rampage across the city centre.
New South Wales police commissioner Mick Fuller said the man had no known links to terrorist organisations, but that he had in his possession a thumb drive with details of mass-casualty white supremacist attacks in the United States and New Zealand.
Witness Megan Hales told AFP she saw a man brandishing a large kitchen knife, chasing several people through the central business district shortly after lunchtime.
A 41-year-old woman who was stabbed is said to be in stable condition.
“Five or six others were chasing him, trying to stop him,” Ms Hales said, adding that the man had been caught and restrained in front of two popular cafes.
Four of the pursuers were Mr Alex Roberts, Mr Lee Cuthbert and brothers Paul and Luke O’Shaughnessy – all colleagues at a recruitment consultancy, who raced from their fourth-floor office to the street.
“We’d opened the window and seen the guy wielding a knife and jumping on the bonnet (of a car),” Mr Paul O’Shaughnessy, a former professional footballer, told AFP.
Convinced it was a terrorist attack, his brother Luke, a champion Muay Thai boxer, led the chase.
“We all just ran down the building and chased him down the street,” said Mr Roberts. “Everyone was kind of panicking, no one really knew what was happening… Not your normal Tuesday afternoon.”
Mr Cuthbert said Mr Luke O’Shaughnessy, with the help of another man, pinned the assailant to the floor with chairs and a plastic crate before the police arrived.