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No terrorist incident call on random stabbing

WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch says the stabbing won't officially be deemed a terrorist incident.

WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch says the stabbing won't officially be deemed a terrorist incident. Photo: AAP

A radicalised teenager’s random stabbing attack on a man won’t officially be declared a terrorist incident at this time, Western Australian police say.

Officers returned to the 16-year-old’s Perth school on Tuesday to reassure the community amid reports of a fresh safety threat, which turned out to be a hoax.

The WA Department of Education has also defended its actions after concerns were raised about the boy, who was shot dead by police outside a Bunnings store in the city’s southern suburbs on Saturday.

WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch says the incident, in which the teen armed with a large kitchen knife injured a man before he was fatally shot, meets the definition of a terrorist act.

“As a terrorist act, it meets the definition because of the message he sent out prior to that,” he told reporters.

In the minutes before he stabbed the man in his 30s in the back, the teen called triple-zero threatening “acts of violence” and reportedly sent a text message to multiple people saying: “I am going on the path of jihad tonight for the sake of Allah.”

But Blanch said the attack did not need to be declared a terrorist incident because no charges would be laid and police did not currently need the additional powers that came with the designation.

“If that changes and more information does come to hand, I may need to declare a terrorist incident or a terrorist act to use those powers,” he said.

Blanch said the investigation into the stabbing and fatal shooting was ongoing as detectives worked to determine what the boy’s motive was.

“Two years in our countering violent extremism program (and) he wasn’t doing that,” he said.

“Something happened that night that we have to determine what that was and we don’t know.”

Blanch said there was no intelligence to suggest other people were involved in the knife attack.

He also dismissed suggestions that an online video showing the boy throwing a homemade bomb into a toilet at his school was evidence of a serious threat.

“It was two years ago, he was 14 years old (and) he was in the company of other kids, but it did help us do the referral into the voluntary (de-radicalisation) program,” he said.

“That was the trigger.”

Blanch confirmed that a threatening message had been sent overnight from a social media account that was believed to have belonged to a student at the dead teen’s school.

“Our investigations have determined that there was a hacked account and so it was a false message,” he said.

“It probably speaks to the harm of social media … when messages like that go out.”

The WA education department has defended its handling of the boy after it was revealed concerned parents of other students at his school had sent a letter to the education minister about the situation.

Director General Lisa Rodgers said there were “comprehensive protocols” to identify students who may present a violent extremism risk.

The boy had an individual management plan from 2022 that included behaviour rules, monitored his school attendance and activities online, routine check-ins to authorities and extensive psychological support.

“When a young person is identified as being at risk of radicalisation, state government agencies work together to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the whole student population, including those who may be vulnerable to extremism,” Rodgers said.

– AAP

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