Courageous Countdown staff and public praised for disarming knife-wielding attacker

By Te Ao - Māori News

Police southern district commander Paul Basham has praised shoppers and Countdown staff who intervened in a stabbing attack in the Dunedin Countdown in Cumberland St this afternoon.

He says some of those were themselves stabbed.

“It’s nothing short of heroic. I have just viewed the CCTV footage and what I saw was quite traumatic. I think they have acted selflessly and with great courage to stop this man from hurting anyone else and they did just that.”

Basham says emergency services got the first of many calls about the incident from 2.30pm and police from the station next door went to the supermarket, where they found four people who had been stabbed.

“We located a man we believe to be responsible and he had been detained by members of the public before police arrived. This was a fast-moving and extremely traumatic event for every person in the supermarket, for the victims who were stabbed, for the people who tried to intervene and those who had to flee to a place of safety.

Collecting evidence

“While we are satisfied we have the person responsible we are in the early stages of this investigation. This includes understanding the motivation for the attack.

“However, on the face of what we currently know, we believe this was a random attack.”

The supermarket is now in lockdown and will have an extensive scene examination for a couple of days, he says. “We are also collecting CC TV footage.”

The man believed to be responsible is under guard at Dunedin Hospital while he is being treated but police have not yet talked to him.

The man will be formally charged when he is returned to the police station tonight or in the morning before he appears in the Dunedin District Court tomorrow.

Basham says he is likely to be charged with assault causing grievous bodily harm.

Escalating violence

“God forbid any of these (victims) won’t deteriorate overnight or other charges will be added.”

“We would encourage anyone who saw the events or has video footage of this incident to get in touch with police on 105.”

Basham said three of the four people were going into surgery this afternoon.

Meanwhile Countdown issued a statement on the incident on its Facebook page:,"We are shocked and devastated by the events in our Dunedin Central Store this afternoon.

"Our priority right now is our injured team members and caring for our wider team in the wake of this extremely traumatic event. We are deeply upset that customers who tried to help our team members were also injured.

"Our amazing team comes to work to serve Kiwis every day, and our customers visit our stores knowing that they will be safe. We are heartbroken that this wasn’t the case today.

"We have been concerned about the escalating violence towards our team, and this is something we have continued to talk and raise as an issue over the last year.