The 32-year-old man who went into supermarket visitors in New Zealand yesterday was shadowed nonstop by police for 53 days. The man had been in prison for three years for terrorism-related crimes but had been released in July.
According to Prime Minister Ardern, there were no more opportunities to hold the man at that time, although there was still evidence that he posed a risk. Thats why it was decided to have him followed by a police team of about thirty officers.
Police were nearby when he opened the attack in the suburb of Auckland, it was possible to intervene within a minute. The man was shot dead by officers. He had already injured seven people at the time, three of whom were severely.
Doubts about release
The perpetrator, who entered the country from Sri Lanka on a student visa in 2011, had come into the picture of justice when he expressed positive about terror attacks on Facebook in 2016.
A year later, he was arrested at Auckland airport because he probably wanted to travel to Syria to join Islamic State. He found a hunting knife and several IS propaganda films. Even though he was bailed at the time, he went to jail for three years in 2018 when he bought a knife.
When he was released under supervision this year, a court report warned that he was still a risk, but the judge could not prevent release. “I sincerely hope that police doubts are unjustified,” the judge told the man.
The man acted alone, he was a lone wolf, Ardern said yesterday:
It is still unclear why the perpetrator, who was illegal in the country, was not deported when his sentence expired. Prime Minister Ardern said there is a logical reason for it, but that the judge had banned from bringing out details about the case.
Ardern went on to say that she intends to tighten terror legislation, but recognized that new legislation also could not have prevented this attack. “This man was eager to attack and seized the possibility in a grocery store. These are extremely difficult circumstances.”
Because the offender used a knife he had taken from a shelf in the attack, several supermarket chains in the country have decided to remove knives and other sharp objects from the range.