Few clues to motive in horrifying Bondi rampage

Mountain of floral tributes grows at Bondi

Source: AAP

A man who went on a rampage at a Sydney shopping centre, killing six people, had minimal interactions with NSW authorities before the stabbing spree that ended with his fatal shooting.

Those dealings – a police direction while sleeping rough and a routine health complaint – will provide little assistance as investigators try to uncover why 40-year-old Queensland man Joel Cauchi seemingly singled out women in the terrifying attack at Westfield Bondi Junction.

It ended when he was shot dead by a lone police inspector, Amy Scott, after she confronted him on level five of the bustling shopping centre on Saturday afternoon.

NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley said on Monday she spoke to Scott on Saturday night.

“She’s a very experienced police officer who just went straight into being a great policeman (sic) on that spur of the moment,” she told Nine’s Today show.

“She said to me that all of her training just clicked in and she did what she knew she had to do.”

NSW Police said Scott was a “career cop” with 19 years’ experience on the force.

Catley said an “exhausted” Scott was spending time with her family, and would be formally interviewed on Tuesday.

Those who died in Saturday’s attack included Faraz Tahir, 30, a refugee in his first shift as a security guard; Ashlee Good, 38, whose nine-month-old daughter was also stabbed; Dawn Singleton 25, shop worker and daughter of businessman John Singleton, architect and mother-of-two Jade Young, 47, and Pikria Darchia, 55.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed on Monday that 25-year-old Chinese student Yixuan Cheng was the final victim.

Yixuan Cheng bondi

Yixuan Cheng was named as the sixth and final victim of the Bondi stabbings. Photo: TV screen grab

Five people remain in hospital, including Good’s nine-month-old daughter. She was in a serious condition on Monday, with another patient in a critical condition. Others who were injured have been released from hospital.

Also on Monday, NSW Police and Premier Chris Minns confirmed that Cauchi had targeted women in his rampage.

“The truth of the matter is, that there are a lot of women in NSW hospitals and women were targeted by this attacker,” Minns said.

“It’s been a terrible day, a terrible weekend for Sydney and NSW and there’s millions of people that are grieving at the moment.”

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said the deliberate targeting was clear.

“The videos speak for themselves, don’t they? It’s obvious to me, it’s obvious to detectives that it seems to be an area of interest that the offender focused on women and avoided the men,” she said.

“We don’t know what was operating in the mind of the offender and that’s why it’s important now that detectives spend so much time interviewing those who know him, were around him, close to him.

“We won’t know necessarily but we have to take a judgment from those who know him.”

Albanese said the gender breakdown was concerning, as he paid tribute to Scott and shoppers who intervened to stop Cauchi.

“This act of senseless violence has shocked the nation and we all grieve with them today. At the same time, there are extraordinary acts of heroism that we applaud – the bravery of Amy Scott, a heroic police officer, by herself, rushing towards danger, not knowing what she was running into,” he said.

“No doubt her swift action in taking out the perpetrator saved lives and we pay tribute to her. As we pay tribute to the ordinary Australians who did extraordinary things – people, the man with the bollard, at the top of the escalator, stopping the perpetrator from getting on to another level; the people who took swift action in the shops as well, to get people to safety.

“Once again, we’re reminded at the toughest of times Australians showed the best of their Australian character.”

Man armed with bollard confronts Cauchi

Source: X

Albanese said he had spoken to bereaved family members.

“They’re doing it tough. Because this act of senseless violence has shocked the nation and we all grieve with them today.”

Minns said a major coronial inquiry, bolstered by up to $18 million in extra funding, will examine Cauchi’s “horrifying, vile act” as well as his previous interactions with authorities.

Cauchi’s estranged family said he had battled mental health issues for decades.

“Joel’s actions were truly horrific and we are still trying to comprehend what has happened,” they said.

NSW Health Minister Ryan Park said the killer had not fallen “through the cracks” in a NSW mental health system that he did not appear to have interacted with since moving from Queensland.

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-with AAP

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