Australian authorities have characterized a shooting that left one officer dead outside New South Wales Police headquarters in Sydney on Saturday afternoon as an act of terrorism.
At a press conference on Saturday, Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione called the shooting that killed Curtis Cheng, a 17-year veteran of the police finance department, "politically motivated and therefore linked to terrorism." There was no evidence to suggest the gunman had any help, or that attack was part of a larger plot, Scipione added.
The gunman, identified by his brother as Farad Jabar Khalil Mohammad, was killed at the scene. Mohammad was born in Iran to an Iraqi-Kurdish family. The rest of his family reportedly left Australia two days before the shooting.
According to police, the 15-year-old visited a local mosque shortly before the killing. After the shooting, he reportedly waved his gun in the air and yelled "Allah! Allah!" before he was shot by nearby officers.
The chairman of Parramatta Mosque, Neil El-Kadomi, told Sydney's Daily Telegraph the boy did not visit the mosque regularly. "We don't know him," El-Kadomi said, adding that more than 400 people visit the mosque every day.
The Daily Telegraph, citing unnamed sources, said police headquarters had been "cased" and there had been "chatter" in recent weeks about a potential attack. Scipione confirmed "there has been activity around a number of locations in NSW," adding, "they're the things we communicate to our officers."
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the incident "a shocking crime" on Saturday.
"It underlines the importance of families, communities, leaders being very aware of whether young people are becoming radicalized," Turnbull said.
Cheng, the lone victim of the attack, is survived by his wife and two children.
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