Willetton stabbing: Why teen’s attack has not been called ‘terrorism’ yet

Dylan Caporn
The West Australian
WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch addresses the media following a fatal incident in Willeton last night
WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch addresses the media following a fatal incident in Willeton last night Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

Police Commissioner Col Blanch said the Willetton stabbing meets all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack but admitted it was too early to make the call.

His comments come after the 16-year-old boy, who had been “radicalised online”, was shot dead by police after the Saturday night stabbing incident in the Bunnings car park.

“Whilst it meets the criteria (of a terror attack), or at least the definition, that’s something that we can work towards as we find out more information from the motivations behind this,” he said.

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“It would be too early for me to act now because I don’t have the concerns of a broader network that might be involved.”

Police Commissioner Col Blanch said the Willetton stabbing meets all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack but revealed why it was too early to make the call.
Police Commissioner Col Blanch said the Willetton stabbing meets all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack but revealed why it was too early to make the call. Credit: 7NEWS/7NEWS

In the aftermath of NSW Police’s decision to quickly label the Sydney church stabbing a terrorist incident, Commissioner Blanch said it was about “timing”.

“It certainly has the hallmarks of one and the reason why I would declare it as a terrorist act going forward, it’s about timing,” Commissioner Blanch said.

“If I need extra capability, particularly from the Commonwealth, sometimes you’ll see terrorist acts being claimed very early or declared very early.

“I believe this is a person acting alone … I don’t need additional capability at this time.”

Officers were called to the car park outside Bunnings Willetton just after 10pm on Saturday, where they found the teenager holding the knife.

Commissioner Blanch said two officers withdrew their Tasers, while a third took out their firearm, confronting the lone teenager.

After officers called for the teenager to put down his weapon, understood to be a 30cm kitchen knife, Commissioner Blanch said the 16-year-old rushed the officers, who deployed both their Tasers.

When the boy turned on the third police officer, he discharged his firearm, fatally wounding the teenager.

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