Auckland mall terrorist attack: Surgeons recover knife tip from stabbing victim
WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC DETAIL
Surgeons operating on one of the women stabbed in Friday’s supermarket terror attack found and removed the tip of the knife used by the offender.
The 2mm knife point was found lodged in the woman’s pelvic bone, the Herald can reveal.
Soon after the attack at New Lynn Countdown, Auckland City Hospital staff started prepping multiple trauma theatres in anticipation of the victims.
Three people sustained critical injures, mainly to their torsos and necks. A source said all were expected to survive.
Police this morning said a fourth patient was in a stable condition, and a fifth had been discharged from hospital and was recovering at home.
A sixth suffered a shoulder dislocation and a seventh escaped the fracas and went home where he treated his own minor wound.
He reached out to authorities later.
The man behind the terror attack was last night named as Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen.
He was shot dead by police from the Special Tactics Group after the terrifying incident.
The 32-year-oldwas an identified threat, a dangerous high risk to the public, on a terror watch-list, and was under 24/7 surveillance.
Initially the terrorist’s name was suppressed, as well as much of the specific detail around his criminal history in New Zealand and his fight for refugee status here.
That lapsed at 11pm yesterday, meaning he could be identified.
His family later issued a statement.
“We wish to begin by saying that our family would like to send our love and support to those who were hurt in the horrible act yesterday,” said his brother Aroos on behalf of the wider family.
“We are so shaken by what has happened and we do not know what to do.
“We hope to find out with you all, what happened in Aathil’s case and what we all could have done to prevent this.
“We are heartbroken by this terrible event.
Aroos claimed his brother was “suffering from some mental health problems” and had declined over the past 10 years.
“He suffered a lot during his political torture at home,” he said in the statement.
“We were grateful he found the country where he wanted to live.
“We saw his mental health got worse and worse… He spent a lot of his time in prison and was always struggling with some court cases.
“When we heard that he was in prison in New Zealand, we thought it would do him some good but didn’t realise he would spend so much time there. He also had many problems in prison. He always wanted help and support. He told us that all the time.”
Aroos revealed members of the terrorist’s family visited New Zealand in 2013.
“We love your country and your people and we know from what we have seen since the Christchurch attack that you are good people,” he said.
“We want to stand with you.”
Aroos said his brother was the youngest child in the family.
He grew up with his parents in the family home while the rest of his siblings grew up “mainly in hostels”.
The terrorist’s brother explained how the family tried to get him to change his ways.
“He would hang up the phone on us when we told him to forget about all of the issues he was obsessed with,” Aroos revealed.
“Then he would call us back again himself when he realised he was wrong.
“Aathil was wrong again yesterday.”
Aroos said the family had to now work to try and accept what had happened.
“I pray that God will help us all to heal from this very sad day,” he said.
“We are thinking of you all. We are thinking of our parents. We are thinking of the boy who left us and the innocent people were injured yesterday.
“Our lives have changed forever.
“We realise that it will take us some time to come to terms with this. We are thinking of the injured, both mentally and physically. May we all heal from this together.”
Last night the Herald revealed that Samsudeen was born in Sri Lanka who came to New Zealand in October 2011 and was granted refugee status two years later.
Immigration officials had sought to revoke his refugee status in 2018, but he appealed and a final decision had yet to be made on whether he could be deported.
His uncertain immigration status was also the reason why the terrorist could not be identified until 11pm Saturday night, when it was lifted by a High Court judge, as anyone claiming refugee status cannot be identified by law.
Samsudeen was Tamil – a minority ethnic group persecuted by Sri Lankan authorities during a decades-long conflict – and claimed he and his father were attacked, kidnapped and tortured because of their political background.
His claim to asylum was supported by scars on his body, as well as a psychologist’s report which said Samsudeen presented as a “highly distressed and damaged young man” suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 ,free text 234 or email email@example.com or o
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
• SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666.
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