Wakeley church stabbing: Police hunt 11 men allegedly involved in riot that erupted outside Assyrian church

Georgina Noack
The Nightly
4 Min Read
Police are seeking 12 men over the Wakeley church riot, releasing descriptions of each in the hop the public will help identify them. Pictured is ‘Person A’.
Police are seeking 12 men over the Wakeley church riot, releasing descriptions of each in the hop the public will help identify them. Pictured is ‘Person A’. Credit: NSW Police

NSW Police have released the images of 11 men they believe can assist with the investigation into a violent riot that broke out after an orthodox Assyrian bishop was stabbed at a Wakeley church last week.

Thousands of people swarmed the Christ the Good Shepherd Church at Wakeley, in western Sydney, after a 16-year-old boy allegedly attacked Bishop Emmanuel Mar Mari while he was delivering a sermon, repeatedly stabbing him with a knife.

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The attack sparked large riots in the area, during which police were injured and vehicles damaged.

To date, three men have been charged over their alleged involvement in the incident. All three remain before the courts.

Police initially released 12 images of “the most serious offenders” on Monday morning but by the afternoon, one of the 12 had been identified and was helping police with their inquiries.

NSW Police acting assistant commissioner Andrew Holland said police believed there were at least 50 people who went to the church “simply because they wanted to start problems”.

“We know there’s groups of families involved that have gone there to support their parishioner. We’re not looking for those people. But we’re looking to speak to them if they can provide information about the people involved in that violent behaviour,” he said.

Police are combing through “up to 600 hours” of police body cam footage from the incident as part of their investigations, but Mr Holland said officers needed the public’s support to identify all “aggressors”.

“There were people who deliberately went there to start problems with police,” Mr Holland continued, noting that the trouble-makers looked to “come from outside”.

“I can’t say what a single person’s thoughts might have been at that time, but if someone has seen the inevitability of being in a riot and thought they could get away with doing damage to police vehicles and police cars, obviously there were concerns to the injuries to religious leaders, and the threats towards young people involved.”

He said it was “one of the problems of social media” and the sermon — and the teenager’s subsequent attack — being live-streamed on the church’s public channels.

“When it first started,the initial response from the people inside, they did a great job holding the young offender down. Once it’s been live streamed, others have come around.

“The police investigations are based around that fact that obviously thousands of people have come from surrounding suburbs to the location and again we’re using all our resources, ANPR and other investigative means to identify those people to come in to support their parishioners but also there’s people (who) have come for the wrong reasons.”

Strike Force Dribs Commander, Superintendent Andrew Evans said while there were a large number of people involved in the violent incident, these particular individuals were being targeted by detectives due to the violent and aggressive nature of their actions.

“We are doing everything we can to identify these men and are now appealing for public assistance,” Supt Evans said.

“Someone in the community knows who they are.”

The first of the 11, Person A, is described as being of Caucasian appearance, medium build with a tattoo of Jesus Christ on his stomach and a full tattoo sleeve on his left arm. He is shown wearing black ankle-length jeans with a black belt, dark coloured shoes. He has a black shirt wrapped around his face.

Person A.
Person A. Credit: NSW Police

Person B, is described as being of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern appearance, with receding dark brown hair and a beard. He is shown wearing a black jumper, grey pants, black shoes and carrying a grey shoulder bag.

Person B.
Person B. Credit: NSW Police

Person C is described as being of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern appearance, with short black hair and beard. He is shown wearing a grey V-neck shirt, dark jeans and white shoes.

Person C.
Person C. Credit: NSW Police

Person D is described as being of medium build, wearing a grey hooded jumper, grey shorts, black socks and white shoes.

Person D.
Person D. Credit: NSW Police

Person E depicted is described as being of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern appearance, muscular build, tan complexion, with a dark coloured beard. He is shown wearing a Nike hat, black singlet, grey cargo pants and white shoes.

Person E.
Person E. Credit: NSW Police

A sixth person identified as Person G is described as being of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern appearance, wearing a black jumper with yellow writing, a white hat and white shoes.

Person G.
Person G. Credit: NSW Police

Person H is shown wearing a t-shirt and carrying a fire extinguisher.

Person H.
Person H. Credit: NSW Police

Person I is described as having short dark hair and a beard, wearing a hooded jumper, dark pants and a black shoulder bag.

Person I.
Person I. Credit: NSW Police

Person J is described as being of large appearance, bald with a goatee. He is shown wearing a dark jumper with writing around the collar.

Person J.
Person J. Credit: NSW Police

Person K is described as having his hair in braids and having a dark beard. He is shown wearing a black hooded jumper, tracksuit pants and socks with slides.

Person K.
Person K. Credit: NSW Police

The eleventh man, Person L is shown wearing a dark singlet, dark shoes and light-coloured shorts.

Person L.
Person L. Credit: NSW Police

Police urge anyone who can identify the men depicted or provide information that may assist in the ongoing police investigation is urged to contact Fairfield Police Station or Crime Stoppers (1800 333 000).

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