by Levi J Parsons, Duncan Murray
SYDNEY, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- A woman was dead and another had been taken to hospital after a man brandishing a knife went on an apparent stabbing rampage in Sydney's Central Business District on Tuesday.
In a statement, the Consulate General of China in Sydney confirmed that the woman who was injured in the attack was a Chinese national.
With multiple streets still remained on lockdown as detectives combed through numerous crime scenes, New South Wales (NSW) State Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told reporters the "terrifying carnage" began at around 2:00 p.m. local time.
"We received multiple phone calls about a 21-year-old man in the vicinity of King Street armed with a knife, wearing a balaclava," he said.
"The man has stabbed a 41-year-old woman in the back and that appears to be a random attack."
"During the next 30 minutes, an expanded crime scene has also identified a 21-year-old woman ... in a unit block in Clarence Street, deceased."
"All of the available information that we have at hand would link these two crimes."
With the accused attacker now in custody, footage posted on social media showed the man yelling and waving the large knife, before being apprehended by members of the public.
In the video, the assailant jumped on top of a car and faced off with a member of the public who used a chair to defend himself.
Later, bystanders including a firefighter used implements such as chairs and a crate to restrain the offender before authorities arrived on the scene.
Offering his gratitude to the heroic Sydneysiders who intervened to stop the alleged attacker, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison took to social media to praise their actions.
"The violent attack that took place in Sydney this afternoon is deeply concerning," he said.
"The attacker is now in police custody following the brave actions of those who were present at the scene and were able to restrain him."
One of those people who helped subdue the knifeman was 37-year-old former professional footballer Paul O'Shaughnessy who played for the English club Bury.
"We just finished lunch," he told the Guardian news outlet.
"We're just based on King Street and we have a window slightly open so we can hear noise and traffic and we heard a lot of shouting which was now obviously the attacker, and my brother opened the window even more and he said, 'Mate, there's a guy wielding a knife.'"
While the man could be heard on video shouting "extremist" slogans during the rampage, Fuller said at this stage the attack was not being classed as a terrorist incident.
"From everything we have at the moment there are no links with him and any terrorist organizations, and there is no information that he was working on behalf of anyone else," he explained.
However, Fuller did indicate that a digital device found on the suspect held information about "other crimes of mass casualties and mass deaths around the world," including recent attacks in the United States and New Zealand.
Believed to have a long history of mental illness, police were investigating the possibility the man might have escaped from a mental health facility a few days prior.
Although there were initial reports of a third stabbing, police have confirmed with Xinhua there were only two victims.
The man was expected to be formally charged by police Wednesday.