SYDNEY, Australia — A civilian police staff member was shot dead by a gunman outside a police headquarters near Sydney, Australia, as he was leaving work Friday, police said.
The gunman also was killed.
“An employee of the NSW police force has been callously murdered here today,” Andrew Scipione, commissioner of New South Wales Police, said at a news conference Friday. “I have viewed a number of pieces of footage, and I can tell you that this was a brutal crime. It was a terrible crime.”
Police say the gunman also fired shots at special constables who came out of the building. In the exchange of fire, the gunman was shot dead.
Edwin Almeida, a real estate agent at Just Think Sydney Real Estate, was in an office across the street from the shooting.
“I heard two gunshots, and some of our employees went outside,” Edwin said. “The gunman was yelling something, with his gun above his head. We quickly gathered back into the office and locked the door. Then I took a video from the window and heard three or four more gunshots. I saw a man lying on the footpath, and there was a pool of blood.”
The shooting took place around 4:30 p.m. local time outside the New South Wales Police headquarters on Charles Street in Parramatta, a western suburb of Sydney. Police have not yet identified the employee or the gunman.
Terrorism not ruled out
“At this stage, we’ve got nothing to link this event to any terrorist-related activity, but we could not say that that wasn’t the case. We are keeping an open mind,” Scipione said. He added that the investigation would be run by the homicide unit, along with assistance from counterterrorism officers.
“Let me assure you: Anyone that thinks that they’re in the business of injuring or in fact killing an officer of the New South Wales police force needs to understand they will be dealt with the full force of the law.”