A man with a butcher's knife has been overpowered by passers-by and detained by police after multiple stabbings which sent Sydney's CBD into lockdown shortly after 2pm on Tuesday.
A major police operation took place near the corner of King and Clarence streets, and a woman's body was found inside a unit at 118 Clarence Street.
Another woman was stabbed in the back about 2pm at another location. David Faktor from St Vincent's Hospital has confirmed that woman was in a stable condition following the attack.
Police have confirmed the alleged offender is Mert Ney, 21, from Marayong near Blacktown. They said he was acting alone and this afternoon's stabbing is "not currently classed as a terror incident".
It is understood Mr Ney had a history of mental health problems that police were aware of, and that he knew the woman whose body was found in the Clarence Street unit.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller on Tuesday evening said Mr Ney "is by definition a lone actor".
"Information was found on him that would suggest he had some ideologies related to terrorism... but he has no apparent links to other terrorist organisations," Mr Fuller said.
"It is not currently classed as a terrorist incident... As investigation continues we will reassess that."
Mr Fuller suggested that information was contained on a USB drive.
He said a woman, 41, was stabbed on the street and a woman, 21, was found deceased in a unit block.
"All the information we have at hand would link these two crimes," he said.
Police are currently examining a crime scene in Western Sydney where Mr Ney lives. Mr Fuller said police would investigate whether the incident was related to drugs or mental health, but that "it was a horrendous crime and he should pay for it".
They will investigate the last 12 months of Mr Ney's life to see why someone who was living with his parents and "turning his life around" would become "someone who is capable of such horrendous crimes".
Mr Fuller reiterated police were in the early stages of investigation and they would continue to look for other crime scenes.
"It is early and in an hour's time we might be stepping up here with a different story."
He praised three people who performed a citizen's arrest to detain the man saying "it would have been terrifying carnage in and around that area" where Mr Ney was "brandishing a large butchers knife and was clearly dangerous".
Mr Ney has been transported from Day Street Police Station to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. It is understood that he was taken there by police, not ambulance.
Footage of the man, shot by Channel 7 and shared below, shows him climbing on top of a black Mercedes station wagon on the corner of King Street and Clarence Street while holding a knife and being pursued by a member of the public carrying a chair.
The footage then cuts to the man lying on the ground, being held down by members of the public using a milk crate and chair. One of the men who has detained the man yells at him: "You stabbed a chick mate".
You can view the footage below, but it may be confronting.
WARNING: Graphic footage
Buildings were locked down while police raced after the suspect, and police hauled some people into doorways for their protection during the incident after rushing along busy inner city streets with guns drawn.
Superintendent Wood said police were not yet sure of the reason for the attack.
"We don't know causation or rationale," he said.
"It would appear unprovoked at this stage but we are keeping an open mind going forward."
He said police were aware of reports the man had shouted "Allahu Akbar" but could not confirm if they were true.
"We are in the infancy stage," he said. "There are a number of crime scenes... The investigation is ongoing."
Prime minister comments
The Prime Minister has praised the "brave actions" of bystanders and expressed condolences to those affected.
"The violent attack that took place in Sydney this afternoon is deeply concerning. The attacker is now in police custody following the brave actions of those who were present at the scene and were able to able to restrain him," Mr Morrison wrote on Twitter.
"The motivation for this attack has not yet been determined as Police are continuing with their enquires. Any further official information will be provided by the New South Wales Police, who are keeping us appraised through our agencies, including details of casualties.
"Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by this violent attack."
The violent attack that took place in Sydney this afternoon is deeply concerning. The attacker is now in police custody following the brave actions of those who were present at the scene and were able to able to restrain him.— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) August 13, 2019
Speaking in London, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she had spoken to the Police Commissioner and the Police Minister about the incident and would be kept updated through the day.
"Our thoughts and prayers are obviously with the deceased and the victims of this horrific time," Ms Berejiklian said.
"I also want to acknowledge the very brave passersby who obviously tried to intervene and our thoughts are with the victims and everyone who witnessed this horrific incident".
The Sydney Morning Herald understands the alleged offender was not on the terror watch list.
Herald reporter Sally Rawsthorne is also in the CBD speaking to witnesses.
Bystander David Vaud told her that he initially thought he had stepped onto the scene of a television series.
"[The man] didn't seem sound of mind. He was clearly distressed," Mr Vaud said.
He praised the "normal blokes" who bought the knife-wielding man down. He said they had armed themselves with an axe and a crowbar.
"People were still quite shocked, they couldn't believe what was happening."
So insane! A random dude just started stabbing people in the city right outside where we were having lunch. I saw people running so I ran towards him with a few other guys.— JackHuddo | #GangGang (@JackHuddo) August 13, 2019
He ran all the way back to near my work where a lot of others had cornered him for the police! #sydneypic.twitter.com/SQvqfDRz88
Jack Huddo wrote on Twitter: "A random dude just started stabbing people in the city right outside where we were having lunch. I saw people running so I ran towards him with a few other guys."
"He ran all the way back to near my work where a lot of others had cornered him for the police," he said.
The driver whose car was jumped on by the alleged offender has told Nine News he was picking up passengers on King Street when he saw people running away from a man with a knife in his hand and blood on his shirt.
"As I'm thinking about doing something, the guy jumps on the front of the car, on the bonnet," the driver said.
"He gets up to the very top. I froze for probably a split second... then I quickly accelerated so he could get off the car."
The driver rounded the corner and then saw the man being chased down by police, firefighters and members of the public.
"He was completely fearless... It was a scary moment I'm sure for a lot of people in Sydney," he said.
The Transport Management Centre told motorists to avoid King Street due to the operation, and Transport officials say about 24 bus routes in and out of the CBD have been disrupted.
"All lanes of King Street are closed from Clarence Street to York Street. Traffic in the area is heavy, and motorists are advised to use an alternative route," they said.
"Buses are also diverting away from King Street and are using Clarence Street, Market Street, Kent Street and Erskine Street then returning to Clarence Street.
"Emergency services are on site, and traffic crews are responding."
- SMH/The Age