Man with knife in mall drama
A 30-year-old man will appear in the Manukau District Court this morning on a kidnapping charge after a woman was held at knife-point at a South Auckland mall, police said.
Westfield Manukau was evacuated after a man grabbed a stranger and allegedly held a knife to her throat. The victim, from Christchurch, 34, had been with her daughter at the mall, where witnesses believed the altercation started as early as 8.30am.
Counties Manukau Area Commander Inspector Adam Pyne said the victim was not known to the alleged offender and was “picked randomly”.
Police arrived minutes after they
were called to a hostage situation at 8.50am and the Armed Offenders Squad was also called, Pyne said.
Police negotiated for about 40 minutes before the man dropped the knife, which had a 12.5cm blade, and released the victim, he said.
“It took a long time but eventually they were able to diffuse the situation,” he said.
“The victim in this matter is understandably shaken but fortunately was not harmed . . .”
It was obviously a distressing situation, he said.
“I want to acknowledge the bravery of the victim in this incident, who remained calm in a stressful and traumatic situation and we are providing her with all the support we can.”
Pyne said the incident was unusual.
“I’ve not known this situation before . . . it’s not a common thing at all.”
Mall security spoke to the alleged offender prior to the mall opening, he said.
“When he grabbed the victim security helped evacuate the food court and then the wider mall.”
A man was accused of kidnap after a woman was grabbed at Westfield Manukau yesterday.