Police make first arrest over riots that followed Sydney church stabbing

Jamie Roberts By Jamie Roberts Jun7,2024
Key Points
  • Riots erupted on the streets of Wakeley on Monday after a 16-year-old is alleged to have stabbed a bishop during a church service.
  • Multiple police officers were injured in the fracas, and rioters were warned they would be prosecuted.
  • Police executed a search warrant at a house in Doonside on Wednesday and arrested a 19-year-old man.
Police arrested a man in relation to riots that broke out near the Assyrian church where a teenager is alleged to have stabbed a bishop on Monday, following through on their promise to prosecute those involved in the unrest.
Officers executed a search warrant at a home in the western Sydney suburb of Doonside at about 5.40pm on Wednesday, arresting a 19-year-old man.
The residence is about 10km from Wakeley’s Christ The Good Shepherd Church, where Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was stabbed during a live-streamed service on Monday night.

That attack triggered violent riots on the street near the Assyrian church, where hundreds of people gathered as scores of police tried to disperse the crowd. Multiple officers were injured and vehicles damaged during the fracas.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb warned on Tuesday that rioters — particularly those who struck out at police — “could expect to be prosecuted”.
“That is unacceptable and those that were involved in that riot can expect a knock at the door,” Webb said. “It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow, but we’ll find you and we’ll come and arrest you.”
Police arrested a 16-year-old male shortly after the stabbing, which authorities have since labelled a “terrorist act”.
“After consideration of all the material, I declared that it was a terrorist incident,” Webb said, noting that the teenager had made comments that pointed to a religious motive. She also said the boy was known to police but was not on a terror watch list.
“We’ll allege there’s a degree of premeditation on the basis this person has travelled to that location, which is not near his residential address, he has travelled with a knife and subsequently the bishop and the priest have been stabbed,” Webb said.

“They’re lucky to be alive.”

Footage of the attack showed a person dressed in black approaching and stabbing the bishop multiple times to the head and upper body. Both Bishop Emmanuel and a senior priest were injured in the assault, and taken to hospital in a stable condition.
NSW Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Andrew Holland told reporters on Monday night the violent images captured inside the church probably caused the uproar in the community.
“People saw that, responded and unfortunately we ended up with a public order incident,” he said.
About 30 people were treated over several hours at the location, including seven who were taken to hospital, NSW Ambulance said.

Multiple police officers were injured at the scene.

The church stabbing incident came just days after six people were killed in a separate and unrelated stabbing at a shopping centre in Bondi Junction, about 30 kilometres east.
The victims of the shopping centre attack included five women aged between 20 and 55 and a 30-year-old male security guard from Pakistan. At least 12 others — including nine women — were hospitalised with knife wounds.

The lone attacker of the Bondi attack was shot and killed by a police officer at the scene, and police said there was no ongoing threat to the community.

Jamie Roberts

By Jamie Roberts

Jamie is an award-winning investigative journalist with a focus on uncovering corruption and advocating for social justice. With over a decade of experience in the field, Jamie's work has been instrumental in bringing about positive change in various communities.

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2 thoughts on “Police make first arrest over riots that followed Sydney church stabbing”
  1. Were there any specific details revealed about why the 19-year-old man was arrested in relation to the riots near the church stabbing incident?

  2. Does the article mention if the arrested man has any connection to the church where the stabbing incident took place?

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