Police car in Perth
Police in Perth have shot dead a knife-wielding youth who authorities say was radicalised online. Image by Tony McDonough/AAP PHOTOS
  • crime, law and justice

‘Radicalised’ teen armed with knife shot dead by police

Rachael Ward May 5, 2024

A teenage boy wielding a large kitchen knife has been shot dead by Western Australian police after he stabbed a man in the back and rushed at officers.

The 16-year-old called triple zero threatening “acts of violence” about 10pm on Saturday, about the same time he was spotted in a Bunnings car park in the suburb of Willetton in the city’s south.

WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch said officers arrived at the scene within minutes and deployed their Tasers but they failed to stop the teen.

WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch
 WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch says a teen with a knife approached an officer who fired one shot. Image by Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS 

“The male continued to advance on the third officer with a firearm, who fired a single shot and fatally wounded the male,” Mr Blanch told reporters on Sunday.

“This is a tragic and sad event.”

The teen was taken to hospital and declared dead about 11pm.

A man in his 30s was found close by with a stab wound and transported to Royal Perth Hospital where he remains in a serious but stable condition.

Mr Blanch said the teen was Caucasian and had acted alone during the attack, which appeared to be random because he had no connection to his victim.

He said the boy, known to police, had mental health and online radicalisation issues and had been part of a support program treating extremism since 2022.

Members of the Muslim community concerned by the teen’s behaviour after he posted messages online had contacted police before the incident.

West Australian Premier Roger Cook
 Western Australia Premier Roger Cook says it is believed the teenager was acting alone. Image by Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS 

“We believe he sent relevant messages to some of those members who immediately responded by calling police,” Mr Blanch said.

“I do want to thank members of the Muslim community who did that because that enabled us to identify rapidly who this individual was and respond quickly.”

Officers have been in contact with the teenager’s family.

“I think the family really do understand the situation that police were in,” Mr Blanch said.

“They are being very forthcoming with police.”

Mr Blanch said the constable who fired the shot and his colleagues were “hurting” but stressed they had done their job.

WA Premier Roger Cook said it was an “extremely confronting incident”.

“Our police responded within minutes,” he said.

“They encountered a very confronting situation but their rapid and professional response kept our community safe.

“My heart goes out to everyone affected by this incident.”

Mr Cook said he had called a meeting of multi-faith community leaders in the wake of the incident.

The ASIO director-general and Australian Federal Police commissioner briefed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on the incident.

“I’m advised there is no ongoing threat to the community on the information available,” Mr Albanese said on social media.

“We are a peace-loving nation and there is no place for violent extremism in Australia.”

An investigation will examine the shooting and events leading up to the incident.

Imam Syed Wadood Janud
 Imam Syed Wadood Janud has acknowledged the local Muslim community, which alerted police. Image by Supplied/AAP PHOTOS 

The Imam of Perth’s largest mosque, the Nasir Mosque, condemned the attack “in the strongest terms”.

“There is no place for violence in Islam,” Imam Syed Wadood Janud said.

He said the Muslim community was shocked by the incident.

“Just thought that this was so close to home, any one of us could have been at Bunnings,” he said.

Imam Wadood Janud said the Muslim community was worried about a possible backlash.

“We’re extremely concerned about Islamophobia,” he said.

“Sometimes the backlash can be very harsh.”

He thanked the police for their quick response.

“I also want to commend the local Muslim community who had flagged the individual prior with the police,” he said.

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