The man who allegedly stabbed four people at a supermarket in Dunedin on Monday afternoon has been charged with four counts of attempted murder.
The suspect, 42, will appear in Dunedin District Court on Tuesday.
At around 2:30pm, four people were stabbed at the Countdown supermarket on Cumberland Street in what police believe was a random attack. Two of the victims were employees, and it's understood the other two were members of the public who intervened in a bid to protect staff and shoppers.
As of Monday night, three victims with critical injuries were undergoing surgery at Dunedin Hospital. The fourth victim was also hospitalised with serious injuries.
The alleged attacker was receiving treatment for a minor injury and had yet to be spoken to by police.
In an update on Tuesday morning, a police spokesperson confirmed the man had been released from hospital on Monday night and moved to Dunedin Central Police Station.
"Three of the injured are now described as in a serious but stable condition. A fourth person is in a moderate condition," the spokesperson said.
"Enquiries at the scene will resume this morning."
The motive behind the alleged stabbing is currently unclear, however authorities have ruled out a domestic terror attack.
Anyone who has information, including video footage of the incident, is encouraged to get in touch with Police via 105, quoting file number 210510/8009.
Injured staff members 'okay'
The two injured employees who were hospitalised following the alleged attack are doing "okay", Countdown general manager of corporate affairs Kiri Hannifin told The AM Show on Tuesday morning.
"The two team members who are in hospital are okay. I am pleased to be able to say that. We were very worried about them overnight, but they are doing okay," Hannifin said.
Countdown staff nationwide are "devastated" by the incident, she continued.
"[It was] an incredibly shocking incident and [there was] immense bravery by a lot of people to look after our team. Thank you for that courage - it's overwhelming. [An] extremely chaotic and senseless event."
Countdown is now considering implementing body cameras to help protect workers from potential harm, Hannifin said, due to an increasing amount of abusive behaviour directed towards supermarket staff over the past year.
"Right throughout New Zealand we have seen an increasing frequency of abuse and assaults and threats in our stores but also increasing severity... It's been a hell of a year for our team not just with COVID and the COVID-19 incidents in our stores, but also the abuse they are receiving while providing an essential service."
'They were heroes'
Members of the public who managed to tackle and detain the suspect are being hailed as heroes, with Southern District Commander Supt Paul Basham praising their "great courage".
Speaking to reporters on Monday evening, Basham said the bystanders who intervened "acted selflessly" to protect other staff and customers.
"Those that intervened, some of whom became injured themselves, I think have acted selflessly and with great courage to prevent this man from hurting anybody else," he said.
Jenny McDowell was shopping at the Cumberland Street Countdown when she suddenly heard screaming.
"I looked up and there was a man stabbing a woman - she had blood around her head," McDowell told The Project on Monday night.
"Members of the public came to just restrain him - they were doing everything they could, they were throwing stuff at him. He then attacked two members of the public - [then] there were probably about three or four people who managed to restrain him.
"They were heroes, they really were."
Dunedin MP David Clark also offered his praise to the bystanders who "sacrificed their own safety" to prevent the alleged attacker from harming others.
During a news briefing, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledged their "courageous acts".
Speaking to The AM Show on Tuesday, Hannifin also recognised the bravery of bystanders.
"You don't come shopping in our business to save lives, but that's what happened yesterday. You don't come to work to get stabbed, but that's what happened yesterday."