SYDNEY – Australian police continued on Wednesday their investigation into the stabbing attack that took place a day earlier in Sydney, which left one woman dead and another injured.
The police were searching the family home of 20-year-old suspect Mert Ney, who is still in hospital with a leg wound before he is released into full custody.
Officers also searched a shelter in west Sydney, where the accused is believed to have spent the night and where they seized electronic devices in search of clues that could shed light on his intentions, NSW Police Force Commissioner Mick Fuller told reporters in Sydney.
Fuller said on Tuesday there were no confirmed links to terrorist organizations, although a USB flash drive had been found on his person, which contained material suggesting “he had some ideologies in relation to terrorism.”
Police are investigating any potential links to terror bodies or groups, Fuller said on Wednesday.
“If we can link him to terrorist activities, the offenses would see him locked away for a very, very long time,” Fuller said, according to national broadcaster SBS.
While being chased in the streets of the Sydney Central Business District during his Tuesday rampage, Ney shouted “Shoot me in the (expletive) head!” followed by “Allahu akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic).
Ney’s sister Yazel told reporters Wednesday that “using religion as an excuse – it’s not right” and added that she did not want to go near her brother, saying she was “shocked, angry, disgusted.”
Yazel said that “in the past week it’s obvious it’s, like, a steep descent into insanity, I guess.”
“We thought he was a threat to himself,” she said.
Yazel Ney also lamented the death of 24-year-old Michaela Dunn, a former university student whose body was found in a building in central Sydney.
According to a police reconstruction, following the alleged stabbing of Dunn, the accused went out on the street armed with a butcher’s knife and stabbed 41-year-old Linda Bo, who remains in hospital in a stable condition.
Fuller said it was a miracle that she survived, when the attacker intended to kill more people.
The number of victims may have been higher if it had not been for a group of civilians who detained the suspect with chairs and a plastic crate, immobilizing him until the police arrived.
“The events of yesterday will forever leave a scar in the history of our city. But in all of its mayhem, terror and fear, new heroes emerged,” tweeted John Barilaro, Deputy Premier of NSW.
“To those people who put their own well-being at risk I want to say thank you, on behalf of all Australians, for your incredible bravery,” he added.