Premier Roger Cook confirms parents’ warnings over 16yo stabber, reveals he was limited to ‘basic’ phone

Josh Zimmerman
The Nightly
4 Min Read
Police at the scene of the stabbing on Saturday night.
Police at the scene of the stabbing on Saturday night. Credit: 7NEWS/7NEWS

Premier Roger Cook has confirmed parents at Rossmoyne Senior High School repeatedly attempted to raise concerns about the 16-year-old teenager shot dead by police after stabbing a stranger in an act of “jihad”.

The boy — who The Nightly has chosen not to name — had already spent two years as part of a countering violent extremism program when he embarked on his violent rampage late on Saturday night.

It is suspected the teenager was radicalised online, with Mr Cook revealing he had been limited to a “very basic telephone” that did not have internet access.

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“I think there were some media reports overnight which suggested that he was on social media expressing his intentions, I can confirm that it was simply a text message to a range of people,” Mr Cook said.

Parents who spoke with The Nightly claimed the teenager was linked to a damaged toilet block at Rossmoyne SHS last year and had also threatened to hurt people at an upcoming graduation.

Some of those parents attempted to warn WA Education Minister Tony Buti about a cluster of boys they feared exhibited violent Islamist ideology and were attempting to radicalise other students.

One parent even went as far as trying to warn the Australian Federal Police that the group was trying to “indoctrinate” their son.

Mr Cook on Monday confirmed a “letter” had been sent to Dr Buti.

“As is appropriate, the minister automatically referred that letter to the Education Department for action,” the Premier said.

“The Education Department obviously took that information on board and continued to manage that young man.”

Asked whether there was an ongoing issue with Islamic extremism among a cohort of Rossmoyne students, Mr Cook said he would “leave that up to the Education Department to clarify”.

“Obviously, this young man was harbouring some extremist thoughts, which is the reason why he was part of the countering violent extremism program.

“It’s an important program to assist these people to manage their extreme thoughts.”

Mr Cook said there were “about nine” other people currently in the same program, which has run since 2015, but could not say whether any of the others were also Rossmoyne SHS students.

Shortly before heading to the car park outside a Bunnings in Willetton where he stabbed a man in his 30s, the teenager sent a message in which he wrote he was “going in the path of jihad tonight for the sake of Allah Azzawajal”.

“Remember that jihad for the sake of Allah… is a mandatory act and follow in my path,” the message said.

WA Premier Roger Cook confirmed parents had raised concerns about the boy’s radicalisation.
WA Premier Roger Cook confirmed parents had raised concerns about the boy’s radicalisation. Credit: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

“Also if you have any illegal or jihad things online or in real life please make sure to hide them well and clear your technology such as laptops and phones including search history… as the police will likely look into my contacts.”

Despite the chilling message and allegations a group of Rossmoyne students shared similar ideological views, Mr Cook repeated Police Commissioner Col Blanch’s assertion there was no ongoing threat to the community.

“The boy in question sent a text message to others, others in the community, maybe friends,” the Premier said.

“Many of those people then subsequently contacted the police to express their concerns about the elevation in his mood and intentions.

“So the police remain confident that this is a single person acting out of their own volition.”

Mr Cook said he was not aware whether the incident had been formally classified as a terrorist attack, saying it was up to Mr Blanch to make that declaration.

“The classifying of a terrorist act brings other measures and other abilities and other agencies to bear,” he said.

“And that is obviously, you do that in the circumstances when you feel that there’s an ongoing risk to the community and that there are others involved.

“As the Police Commissioner said yesterday, we are confident that this was a single act by a single person acting alone.”

Mr Cook said the boy had been “confronting a range of complex issues in his life” when he took on board “extremist attitudes”.

“And so that was the issue that we had been managing for some time now,” he said.

“And from that perspective, the complexities that he faced in his life put him in a situation where we had the incidents of the weekend.

“And it’s incredibly regrettable… can I just express my deepest sympathies to the family and to the school community and everyone impacted by this?

“And I also just want to thank members of the clergy, who were responsible for working with this young gentleman, tried to get him on a better pathway, but also working with authorities to make sure that they got as much notice as possible as he was experiencing and starting to carry out his extremist attitudes.”

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