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Man with axe attacks diners at three New Zealand restaurants, leaves four wounded

They said they arrested a 24-year-old suspect at the scene and had charged him with wounding and intending to cause grievous bodily harm. Police did not immediately offer a motive for the attack

Police tape cordons off a restaurant in Auckland, New Zealand, Tuesday, June 20, 2023
Police tape cordons off a restaurant in Auckland, New Zealand, Tuesday, June 20, 2023, after an axe attack late Monday.Hayden Woodward (AP)

Four people were hospitalized in New Zealand after a man armed with an axe began attacking diners at random at three neighboring Chinese restaurants, according to police and witnesses.

Police said the man began the attack at about 9 p.m. Monday in the north Auckland suburb of Albany. They said they arrested a 24-year-old suspect at the scene and had charged him with wounding and intending to cause grievous bodily harm. Police did not immediately offer a motive for the attack.

Auckland City Hospital said Tuesday one patient from the attack remained there in a stable condition. North Shore Hospital said it had one patient with moderate injuries and a second with minor injuries, both of whom were in a stable condition, and had earlier discharged a third patient.

A diner told the New Zealand Herald newspaper he was eating dinner with a friend when the man walked in and started attacking his friend, who was seriously injured.

“I was in shock. When I realized what was happening, he tried to target me,” the man, who asked not to be named, told the Herald. “I blocked his axe with my hand. He was also trying to target my head, so I blocked the axe with my hand.”

The diner said the man with the axe chased them out of the restaurant and then turned around and walked into another restaurant.

The Herald posted an image of what appeared to be a wood-splitter style of axe lying on the sidewalk.

Acting Detective Inspector Timothy Williams said they weren’t seeking anybody else in the incident, meaning they believe the man acted alone. Williams said police expect to file more charges.

The suspect was due to make his first court appearance Tuesday.

The restaurants the man entered were Yues Dumpling Kitchen, Zhangliang Malatang and Maya Hotpot. They are among a cluster of restaurants on the street that aim to give diners low-cost options reminiscent of Chinese street food offerings.

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