Bondi Junction stabbing attack: How it unfolded

Blair JacksonNCA NewsWire
Not Supplied
Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: Supplied

It was the first day of school holidays at a busy shopping centre in Bondi when a 40-year-old Queensland man pulled out a knife and killed six people.

He stabbed numerous other people before a police officer shot and killed him. He has been identified as Joel Cauchi from Brisbane.

In updates on Sunday morning, NSW Acting Premier Penny Sharpe said nine people were taken to hospital by ambulance and a further three people presented to hospital by other means.

Here’s how the terrifying attack unfolded.

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April 13, 3.10pm:

The man walked into Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre but then left.

Supplied Editorial A bystander armed with a bollard tries to stop the armed man on an escalator at Westfield Bondi. Picture : 9 News
Camera IconJoel Cauchi, 40, stalks through the shopping centre with knife in hand. 9 NEWS Credit: Supplied

3.20pm: He walked back in and began stabbing people, NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke said.

- Shoppers begin calling triple-0.

3.25pm: NSW Police Inspector Amy Scott was in the area and first on the scene. Shoppers point her towards the attacker.

- Inspector Scott follows Cauchi to an upper level. As she continued to walk quickly behind him to catch up with him, he turned around to face her, raised a knife and the police officer shot the man dead.

Supplied Editorial @AnnoymousGiraf - https://twitter.com/AnnoymousGiraf/status/1779050676280316052
Camera IconThe attacker was shot by police after a civilian tried to dissuade and confront him with a bollard on an escalator. @AnnoymousGiraf - https://twitter.com/AnnoymousGiraf/status/1779050676280316052 Credit: Supplied

- Some shoppers run from the complex, others hide as the centre is locked down.

- Alerts spread around the large shopping centre. Witnesses report crowds sprinting for safety about 3.40pm.

- Videos of the attacker stalking around and pictures of the evacuated crowds begin to spread.

- The government and police declare the attack a major incident, meaning all priority ambulance and paramedics are sent to the scene.

4pm: Media reports begin to be published.

The busy area was flooded with evacuated shoppers and emergency services. 9 NEWS
Camera IconThe busy area was flooded with evacuated shoppers and emergency services. 9 NEWS Credit: Supplied

4.30pm: Media reports four people have died, more people are injured plus the attacker has been shot, and the elite Tactical Operations Unit is on scene.

4.35pm: Witness accounts hit the headlines: Shoppers who were suddenly asked to try to save lives, or run for their own, shock readers and viewers.

4.40pm: Helicopter images from Channel 9 are broadcast showing the huge crowds, fleets of emergency vehicles and the scale of the shopping centre.


5pm: The men who mother Ash Good handed her baby to as she lay critically wounded, speak with media. News of the attacker’s death still had not filtered out.

- Numerous accounts of shoppers helping treat each other are published.

5.10pm: News that five victims have been killed is published.

Camera IconPolice riot squad rushed to the scene. NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper Credit: News Corp Australia

5.20pm: Clearer video of the attacker is posted to social media, showing him with the knife and wearing an Australian Kangaroos ARL jersey.

5.30pm: Details of eight people including a baby being taken to hospital become known.

6pm: The Prime Minister is briefed and it is still unclear if there is a second assailant.

6.20pm: NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke quells fears there are two attackers.

- Police said they did not know who the attacker was at that stage.

7pm: Video of a man confronting the attacker with a bollard is spread far and wide.

7.10pm: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese describe the fatal stabbings as “extraordinarily heartbreaking” and “beyond words”.

Supplied Editorial A bystander armed with a bollard tries to stop the armed man on an escalator at Westfield Bondi. Picture : 9 News
Camera IconFootage of the man confronting Joel Cauchi with a bollard is spread far and wide online. 9 News Credit: Supplied

7.15pm: Two ambulance chaplains arrive at the scene to counsel police officers, with one chaplain saying “Many would have never seen something like this”, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

7.30pm: The sixth fatality – Ashlee Good – is confirmed to have died in hospital.

7.40pm: Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw says “it is too early to determine a motive and it would be unhelpful to speculate”.

8.20pm: NSW Commissioner Karen Webb says the people killed were five women and a man.

- The attacker is identified as a 40-year-old man known to law enforcement, though not named.

Camera IconWitnesses and politician are commending the police response. NCA NewsWire / Monique Harmer Credit: News Corp Australia

- The attacker was believed to have acted alone. “If he is the person that we believe, then we don’t have fears of that person holding an ideation. In other words, it’s not a terrorism incident,” Commissioner Webb said.

8.30pm: ‘Literally everyone’s worst nightmare’: NSW Premier Chris Minns had just landed in Japan with his family for two weeks of leave, but announced he would return to Sydney immediately. The Premier joined a cabinet crisis meeting with other ministers, describing the incident as “literally everyone’s worst nightmare”.

Camera IconDetectives and forensics combing the huge shopping centre. NCA NewsWire / Monique Harmer Credit: News Corp Australia

10pm: Acting Premier Penny Sharpe says medical staff are working around the clock to try to save the lives of at least eight people injured in the Bondi stabbing spree.

- King Charles III issues a statement saying he and Queen Camilla are “utterly shocked and horrified”. The Prince and Princess of Wales also send a message of support.

11.15pm: Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos is interviewed on Sky News UK, paying tribute to the “everyday heroes” and the Inspector Amy Scott who ran towards the danger to protect each other.

April 14:

Camera IconThe victims’ bodies were removed from the shopping centre on Sunday morning. NCA NewsWire / Monique Harmer Credit: News Corp Australia

8am: Acting Premier Sharpe says on morning television 12 people are inhospitall in relation to the incident; nine were taken by ambulance, but three went by unknown means.

8.40am: NSW Police identify the attacker as 40-year-old Queensland man Joel Cauchi, from the Brisbane area who had moved to NSW about a month ago.

Cauchi’s family were co-operatingg with police and the attack was related to the mental health of the attacker, Police Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke said.

9am: Bodies of the deceased victims are removed from the shopping centre.

How to seek help for mental health

Originally published as Bondi Junction stabbing attack: How it unfolded

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