Student at same school as teen gunman arrested in Australia
A student who attended the same school as a teenager who shot dead a man outside an Australian police headquarters in a suspected terrorist incident was arrested Tuesday over alleged posts on social media.
The student was handcuffed and had his belongings emptied on the footpath while on his way to Arthur Phillip High School in western Sydney, Australian Broadcasting Corporation footage showed.
Police, who had a heavy presence at the school that was resuming classes for the first time since the shooting, confirmed the arrest.
“Shortly after 8:30 a.m., police spoke with a teenage boy in relation to alleged posts on social media,” New South Wales Police said in a statement.
“During the interaction, police allege the teenager threatened and intimidated police.”
The arrest comes after a boy widely named in the media as Farhad Jabar shot 58-year-old finance worker Curtis Cheng in the back of the head outside New South Wales state police headquarters in Parramatta in western Sydney on Friday.
The 15-year-old, who authorities said was born in Iran of Iraqi and Kurdish background and had no criminal history prior to the incident, was killed in an exchange of fire with police.
The Sydney Morning Herald said it had seen a number of posts on the arrested teenager’s Facebook account following Friday’s attack, including one which reportedly said: “Serves you right I hope them ’lil piggies get shot.”
Investigators have yet to establish why the teen gunman targeted Cheng, although Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the attack “appears to have been an act of terrorism.”
Authorities on Sunday searched a mosque the shooter is believed to have attended with the consent of religious leaders.
Australian officials have said they are concerned about the prospect of lone-wolf attacks by individuals inspired by groups such as the Islamic State organization, and have cracked down on Australians attempting to travel to conflict zones such as Syria.
Turnbull on Tuesday urged Muslim leaders to speak up more against violent extremism.
“Yes they should speak up, but it’s more important from a practical point of view that there is leadership in the Muslim community which continues to demonstrate that this type of violent extremism is not consistent with Islam,” he said.