Crowds join Bondi Beach memorial for Sydney mall stabbing victims

SYDNEY: Crowds gathered at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach on Sunday (Apr 21) for a candlelight memorial to the six people killed by a knife-wielding assailant at a nearby shopping mall.

Many hundreds sat on the grass in a beachside park to grieve for the five women and a Pakistani male security guard who died in the Apr 13 attack at the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping complex.

The killings stunned many Australians who are largely unaccustomed to such violent crime.

“When I heard this I cried. Because it is new to us. We don’t have this happen often. It’s a shock,” said 56-year-old local cafe owner Daniela Pontidas.

“I know a lot of people that were impacted in some way,” she told AFP.

“I feel like this has burst Australia’s bubble a bit.”

Paul Inggall, 50, said he had been at Bondi Junction in the morning hours before the attack.

“These things don’t happen often in Australia but when they do I think they have a profound impact,” he told AFP.

“I think it really moves the community, so I want to be a part of it.”

The mentally ill knifeman, 40-year-old Joel Cauchi, was tracked down, shot and killed by police inspector Amy Scott, who attended the service.

As waves crashed into the beach at dusk, a choir sang the hymn “Keep Your Loving Arms Around Me”.

An Indigenous didgeridoo was played as people lit candles in the breezy evening.

“Bondi is tough and this is a strong community, and we will get through this,” said New South Wales Premier Chris Minns.

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