Seven people were stabbed by a man in a supermarket in an Auckland shopping center on Friday.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Saturday there were more details to be released on the man’s story, but here’s what we know so far:
• The perpetrator arrived in New Zealand in 2011 on a student visa from Sri Lanka. He was 22 at the time and New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said any extremist views he might have held at the time were not known to authorities.
• The man came to the attention of police in 2016 after expressing sympathy for terrorists and sharing violent videos online. Police spoke to her in April and May of that year, but the behavior continued.
• In May 2017, he was arrested at Auckland International Airport, where police believed he was heading for Syria. They searched her apartment and found restricted publications and a hunting knife. He was charged with possession and pleaded guilty to knowingly distributing restricted publications, fraud and failing to assist the police in the exercise of their search powers. He was released on bail.
• While on bail in August 2018, he was caught buying a knife, resulting in another arrest and police again found objectionable or “extremist” material after they searched his home. He was charged and kept in detention.
• In September 2018, he was sentenced to 12 months of surveillance but, due to previous charges of his release on bail, he remained in detention.
• In July 2020, prosecutors attempted to prosecute the man under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, but a High Court judge ruled that planning a terrorist attack was not in itself an offense under the legislation of the country. He remained in detention.
• During this time, he assaulted prison officers and was charged for it.
• In May 2021, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was briefed on efforts to find legal avenues to keep him in detention. The previous month, a bill had been introduced that would authorize prosecution for preparation of terrorist acts.
• Also in May 2021, he was sentenced by the High Court for possession of a knife and other objectionable material.
• In July 2021, he was sentenced to 12 months of surveillance with conditions including living in a certain location, restrictions on his internet use, allowing the police to check his phone and attend rehab sessions. Mr Coster said on Saturday that the assailant had been “generally uncooperative” with rehabilitation efforts.
• Prosecutors requested electronic surveillance but the court refused.
• By the time he was released to the community in mid-July, he had spent around three years in pre-trial detention, but legal avenues to keep him there “were exhausted,” Ms. Ardern said.
• From the day of his release he was closely watched by police, but Mr Coster said he was very paranoid, even defying members of the public he accused of following him.
• The perpetrator’s family is believed to be living abroad and New Zealand news site Stuff.co.nz quoted lawyer Davoud Mansouri-Rad as representing him on immigration matters. , saying: “The family was not aware of what the person in New Zealand was doing … They are shocked and in mourning.”