Police are not yet ruling out terrorism as the motive behind a man accused of fatally attacking a woman and attacking another during a terrifying rampage in Sydney’s CBD.
Investigators are trawling through Mert Ney’s electronic devices, social media accounts and family home as they try to determine why the 20-year-old sought to kill and injure innocent people on Tuesday afternoon.
Ney remains under police guard in hospital and is yet to be interviewed by police about the incident that brought the city’s streets to a standstill.
He was detained by several members of the public who gave chase after he was seen wandering the streets and jumping on a car, brandishing a bloodied knife.
Police believe Ney had earlier been at a unit on Clarence Street for “the purposes of prostitution”, where the body of a 24-year-old woman was later discovered.
She had an injury to her neck and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The 20-year-old was captured on CCTV arriving at the building at 1.30pm and leaving about 20 minutes later.
Police believe he then went on to attack a 41-year-old woman at Hotel CBD and threatened to attack others before being restrained by bystanders.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the attack had not been classed as a terrorist incident and that the “lone actor” had no known links to terrorist organisations.
Ney was, however, carrying a USB stick with information about recent mass casualties in New Zealand and the United States.
While he had a history of mental health issues and an “unremarkable” criminal history, his motive remains unclear.
“Having some footage saved on a USB drive is not a leap far enough for me to say that this is a terrorist incident – but obviously it’s extremely concerning and it is the starting point of a long-term investigation,” Mr Fuller told reporters on Wednesday.
“What he has on social media, what we may well find in his bedroom, will hopefully give us, and shine more light on, why this crime happened.”
Detectives were on Wednesday searching Ney’s family home in Marayong and a property in Blacktown, where it was believed he was staying.
He has undergone surgery at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for a cut to his knee. But police hope he will leave hospital on Wednesday afternoon and he is expected to be charged with murder, as well as serious assault, among other possible offences.
“If we can link him to terrorist activity, then the offences that follow would see him locked behind bars for a very, very long time,” Mr Fuller said.
The commissioner again praised the members of the public who helped restrain the 20-year-old using a milk crate and chairs, labelling them “true heroes”.
“They saved lives,” he said.
Police Minister David Elliott said he will make sure police consider any exposure Ney had to government services in the recent months as part of their investigation.
“We want to make sure that we learn any lessons that need to be learnt from this particular occasion,” he told reporters.
Originally published as: Man Arrested After Sydney CBD Attack