A man has been fatally shot by police officers and six shoppers have been injured – including three critically – in horrific scenes at a West Auckland supermarket this afternoon.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was a terrorist attack carried out by a known threat, who was under constant police surveillance.
“What happened today was despicable. It was hateful, it was wrong. It was carried out by an individual, not a faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity but an individual person who is gripped by ideology that is not supported here by anyone in the community,” said Ardern.
She said she was “so sorry” the attack had happened.
The injured are believed to have been attacked in the New Lynn mall Countdown before their assailant was then fatally gunned down by police.
The three critical patients, and another in a serious condition, have been taken to Auckland City Hospital. One person in a moderate condition is at Waitakere Hospital, and another in a moderate condition is at Middlemore Hospital.
The Herald understands at least one person suffered a stab wound, while Newstalk ZB understands two people have been shot.
A brave bystander at the mall helped a wounded woman who had been stabbed on her right hip.
The witness wrapped the injured woman’s jumper around her and still had blood on her when she spoke to the Herald.
The witness told the Herald the woman ran out of the mall as other shoppers were screaming “he’s got a knife”.
As people scrambled to evacuate others yelled “he’s got a gun” and the injured woman got up and fled the scene.
The witness says the adrenaline was still pumping after the horrific attack.
Auckland City Hospital has multiple operating theatres running to treat the injured – who have suffered chest and neck wounds. Two major abdominal cavity surgeries are under way, the Herald has been told.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Police Commissioner Andrew Coster are set to address the media on the attack at 5.15pm.
Frantic shoppers who were fleeing Countdown were kept safe inside a neighbouring pharmacy.
A staff member at the Unichem Pharmacy, about 40m from Countdown, said about 20 people rushed into the store. They locked the door to keep them – and about 45 people inside the pharmacy being vaccinated at the time – safe.
“It wasn’t a nice scenario. Everyone was pretty shocked and worried, but everybody is fine.”
Staff at Unichem are now shifting vaccination appointments to another site to ensure those impacted can still get the jab.
“That’s very important too,” said the staffer.
'Someone with a knife in there'
In a video posted to social media, shoppers can be heard warning each other about “someone with a knife in there” – shortly before a series of gunshots rang out.
Police confirmed that a man entered a New Lynn supermarket and injured multiple people.
They confirmed the man has been located and shot. He has died at the scene.
Witnesses describe chaos
A witness, who didn’t want to be named, said they saw two people stabbed – a possible middle-aged Pākehā woman and an older man.
Moments later, the suspected perpetrator was shot by what looked like two undercover cops and fell to the ground.
The witness said customers then rushed to shelter in the aisles.
A third ambulance arrived at the scene shortly after 3.30pm with ambulance officers wearing gowns.
At least 10 police vehicles had gathered around the mall’s entry, with reports of the police Eagle helicopter in the area.
Several roads have been blocked off.
Terrified workers hide in mall
A pharmacy worker at Lynn Mall says they are barricaded in the pharmacy, according to RNZ.
The pharmacy is located at the other end of the mall to Countdown, so staff did not witness the incident but a customer reported cars rushing out of the mall’s car park.
A bus can be seen parked in the middle of Great North Rd near the Lynn Mall entry.
An RNZ journalist at the scene spoke to George Francisco, who was outside the mall when he got a panicked call from his wife, who works at a pharmacy inside.
She told him she saw a woman running through the mall, saying she had been stabbed.
His wife then heard five gunshots.
She told him that a “number of people” were wounded.
A Countdown spokeswoman said the company was “devastated by what’s taken place in our Lynn Mall store today”.
“Once again, our hearts are heavy knowing what our team and customers have witnessed and been through. Our thoughts are with those who were injured and their families, and we will be supporting all of our Lynn Mall team.”
STORY CONTINUES AFTER BLOG
A man, who didn’t wish to be named, filmed an injured woman being taken off a bus at New Lynn train station.
In the video, the woman appears to be bleeding from an injury near her left shoulder.
The man, who lives in an apartment overlooking the station, said more than seven police cars rushed to the scene just before 3pm.
They blocked both ends of the road near the station as three ambulances also arrived. Police got onto the bus first, before paramedics joined them.
Shortly after they can be seen in the video carrying the woman off the bus. She is still conscious as they lay her onto a stretcher.
Mosque blocked off by police
Meanwhile, police have cordoned off the mosque on Waikaukau Rd Glen Eden in connection to the incident.
A patrol car has blocked access and two police officers, one armed with a rifle, are stopping pedestrians and vehicles trying to enter or exit the street.
A man who says he is one of the mosque leaders is trying to enter the cordon.
Police to shoppers: 'Get out immediately'
An Auckland woman on the verge of entering the mall has described the chaos and traffic jams that followed as panicked shoppers fled the shopping centre.
The woman, who was in the carpark preparing to go into the supermarket, said she was stopped by police officers who ran up to her car and told her to “get out immediately” because there had been a shooting.
“People were panicking and it was a gridlock trying to get out of New Lynn. Police and ambulances were everywhere,” she said.
“I was told by another police officer while I was waiting be diverted that someone had been stabbed. “
She said it took around 20 minutes to get out of the area.
“Police cars kept arriving and people were running away from the mall trying to get out.
“I was thankful I didn’t arrive five minutes earlier as I would’ve been inside.”
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