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Countdown “shocked, devastated” at supermarket stabbings

11th May 2021 By Paul Yandall | | @foodtickernz

Four people remain in hospital after a man stabbed them in a knife attack at Countdown’s Cumberland Street supermarket at Dunedin.

Countdown on Cumberland Street, Dunedin. Image: TVNZ

A 42-year-old man will appear in Dunedin District Court this morning charged with four counts of attempted murder following the attack that has left two Countdown workers in intensive care.

The stabbings happened just before 2.30pm on Monday and the alleged offender was subdued and detained by members of the public shortly afterwards. A fifth person was treated for relatively minor injuries at the scene.

“We are shocked and devastated by the events in our Dunedin central store [Monday] afternoon,” Countdown said in statement on Monday evening.

“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.”

The supermarket group said it had 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”.

“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.”

Countdown said the supermarket would remain closed today while it supported its team and co-operated with the police.

Superintendent Paul Basham, the southern district commander for the police, said officers were on the scene within minutes of the first calls just before 2.30pm on Monday.

“Upon arrival, Police located four people with serious stab-related injuries,” Basham said.

“We also located a man, who had been detained by members of the public, that we believe is allegedly responsible for this incident.

“This was a fast-moving and extremely traumatic event for every person in that supermarket – the victims who were injured, those present who tried to intervene and those who had to flee to a place of safety.”

Basham said the alleged offender received medical attention at Dunedin Hospital under police guard on Monday evening.

“While we are satisfied we have the person responsible in our custody, we are in the very early stages of our investigation into the circumstances.

“This includes understanding the motivation for this attack which will be a key component of the investigation. However, on the face of what we currently know, we believe this was a random attack.” 

Basham added that police were still in the process of compiling witness information and collecting CCTV footage of the incident.



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