|Police headquarters, Parramatta, Australia, after the killings [Image Source]|
This past Friday, mid-afternoon, around 4:30 pm, a high school student aged 15, shot dead a police accountant, Curtis Cheng, 58. He had worked in finance for the police for 17 years. The shots were fired from behind and at close range. It's all captured on video [here]. Neighbours of the killer, quoted here, say (in the traditional way) that he was not unusual; in fact, he was "cordial". But the neighbour had never spoken with him.
The shooting was directly outside police headquarters in the Sydney suburb of Parramatta. The boy is said to have been unknown to counter terrorism police before he carried out what they are now calling a "politically motivated" attack. And as far as they can tell, he acted alone.
But conclusions like that tend to be flexible and changeable, and the police are already "exploring every avenue with regard to why he did what he did," according to the police commissioner quoted in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald. They have already formed the view that "his actions were politically motivated and therefore linked to terrorism."
|The boy before he executed the murder|
According to Australia's ABC, quoted in the same report, the boy's sister left Australia on a Singapore Airlines flight on Thursday bound for Istanbul, evidently attempting to reach Iraq or Syria. She had taken all of her belongings with her.
It's also known the boy attended the nearby Parramatta mosque on Friday afternoon before carrying out the killing. He then changed into a flowing black shirt and black trousers there.
The police commissioner says his team are a "long way from establishing a full picture of the boy" who was of Iraqi-Kurdish background, born in Iran and living in North Parramatta with family.
New South Wales premier Mike Baird asks: "How can someone so young undertake such a chilling act? ...It doesn't make sense. It should never have happened. Obviously we are all lost for words."