Sydney attacker appears to have been ‘focusing on women’ during shopping centre stabbing

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The man who fatally stabbed six people at a Sydney shopping centre appears to have been targeting women, police have said.

Joel Cauchi, 40, has been identified by police as the man who took a knife from his backpack at Westfield shopping centre in Bondi Junction on Saturday afternoon and killed five women and a male security guard.

He was only stopped after being shot dead by police Inspector Amy Scott, who had been nearby checking liquor licences at hotels before the attack happened.

On Monday morning, New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb was asked by the Australian broadcaster ABC about footage of the massacre that appeared to show Cauchi targeting women.

She replied: “The videos speak for themselves, don’t they?”

“It’s obvious to me, it’s obvious to detectives that seems to be an area of interest that the offender had focused on women and avoided the men.

“Five of the deceased are women and the majority of victims in hospital are also women.

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“We don’t know what was operating in the mind of the offender and that’s why it’s important now that detectives spend so much time interviewing those who know him, were around him, close to him, so we can get some insight into what he might have been thinking.

“We won’t know necessarily but we have to take a judgement from those who know him.”

Cauchi suffered from mental health issues, police have said, and investigators are not treating the attack as terrorism-related.

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Bondi shopping centre attacker caught on camera

His family released a statement soon after the attack, describing his actions as “truly horrific”, adding they were “still trying to comprehend what has happened”.

“We are in contact with both the New South Wales Police Force and Queensland Police Service and have no issues with the police officer who shot our son as she was only doing her job to protect others and we hope she is coping alright,” they said.

Cauchi’s victims were Ashlee Good, 38, Dawn Singleton, 25, Jade Young, 47, Pikria Darchia, 55, and security guard Faraz Tahir, 30. The sixth victim has no family in Australia and police are trying to contact their relatives overseas.

Twelve others were taken to hospital with stab wounds, with four of them having since been discharged.

One of those still in hospital was Ms Good’s nine-month-old baby, who was in a stable condition on Monday.

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