Man slashes strangers in WA stabbing rampage

A knife-wielding man has been shot dead by police after stabbing seven people in a rampage in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

Man slashes strangers in WA stabbing rampage

A knife-wielding man has been shot dead by police after stabbing seven people in a rampage in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

An officer shot the man after attempting to subdue him at the South Hedland Square shopping centre, where he attacked five of the victims.

The man has been identified as a fly-in, fly-out worker from Perth aged in his 30s.

Police say he stabbed a man at a motel and another who was in a car at the local McDonald's before entering the shopping centre and attacking a further two men and three women.

Two officers attempted to subdue him and fired a Taser before he lunged at them with a "very large" knife.

"While being confronted by this person who was called upon many times to drop the knife - this is after the series of stabbings that had occurred - one of the officers is believed to have fired several shots," Police Commissioner Chris Dawson told reporters.

None of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries but five were hospitalised with stab wounds, including two who remain in a serious but stable condition at Hedland Health Campus.

One victim, Esther Brooks, was stabbed in the back as she did her regular grocery shopping.

"I just walked out and he came running down and police were chasing him and he stabbed me on his way past," Ms Brooks told 9News.

Dwayne Arani-Moa witnessed the attack, describing it as "random".

"There was no one he was trying to target … he was attacking people at random," Mr Arani-Moa said.

"He stabbed a young lady there who had a baby."

Mr Arani-Moa said the attacker wore no expression as his carried out his stabbing spree.

"He looked quite calm and collected. I'm still in shock. I was shaking the whole time," he said.

One of the victims had been pushing a pram with a child inside who was unharmed.

Mr Dawson said there was no indication the man was politically or ideologically motivated, describing the incident as a tragedy.

The shooting was captured on CCTV and on police body-worn cameras, he said.

Homicide detectives have flown to South Hedland via police aircraft and the professional standards division will also investigate.

WA Police Union president Harry Arnott said a team had been deployed to assist the two officers, a man and a woman, involved in the incident.

"Our information indicates our members acted to protect the community and themselves, and without their intervention this incident would be significantly more tragic for the Hedland community," he said.

WA Premier Mark McGowan described the attack as a "tragic and awful set of events" for the small Pilbara community.

"(It's) obviously a very sombre and sad event for Hedland, and for all of Western Australia," Mr McGowan said.

"I know all of our thoughts and appreciation go with those police officers who've had to deal with a very difficult situation."

Port Hedland Commissioner Fred Riebeling said another victim was a council employee who works at a local theatre.

"It's all really upsetting," he told AAP.

"If there's five or half a dozen people injured, half the town will probably know someone involved."

Source : 9 News More   

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Biden denies former staffer's sexual assault allegation

US presidential candidate Joe Biden denied a former Senate staffer's allegation of sexual assault and is set to discuss the allegations on television for the first time.

Biden denies former staffer's sexual assault allegation

US presidential candidate Joe Biden has denied a former Senate staffer's allegation of sexual assault, saying the accusation isn't true.

"This never happened," Biden said.

It's the presumptive Democratic nominee's first public comment on an accusation of sexual assault by his former Senate staffer, Tara Reade.

He has appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe to discuss the allegation for the first time on television.

"I'm saying unequivocally, it never, never happened," Biden said in the interview.

Biden said he will ask the National Archives to determine whether there is any record of such a complaint being filed.

"The former staffer has said she filed a complaint back in 1993," Biden said.

"But she does not have a record of this alleged complaint. The papers from my Senate years that I donated to the University of Delaware do not contain personnel files."

Biden added: "There is only one place a complaint of this kind could be – the National Archives. The National Archives is where the records are kept."

Biden also released a statement today, denying the former aide's claims he sexually assaulted her 27 years ago - it is the first detailed response from Biden to Reade's allegation.

"While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated. One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny," the former vice president and presumptive Democratic 2020 nominee said in the statement.

He continued: "Responsible news organisations should examine and evaluate the full and growing record of inconsistencies in her story, which has changed repeatedly in both small and big ways."

"But this much bears emphasising," he said. "She has said she raised some of these issues with her supervisor and senior staffers from my office at the time. They — both men and a woman — have said, unequivocally, that she never came to them and complained or raised issues. News organisations that have talked with literally dozens of former staffers have not found one — not one — who corroborated her allegations in any way. Indeed, many of them spoke to the culture of an office that would not have tolerated harassment in any way — as indeed I would not have."

Biden's statement was released ahead of his TV interview and as pressure built on the presumptive Democratic nominee to personally address Reade's allegation.

His campaign's only response for weeks has been a statement from deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield highlighting the former vice president's role in crafting the Violence Against Women Act and saying what Reade had claimed "absolutely did not happen." Former Biden staffers also said Reade had not complained about Biden at the time.

The allegation comes as Biden is preparing to take on President Donald Trump in the general election.

More than a dozen women have levelled allegations against Trump, ranging from unwelcome advances to sexual harassment and assault. Trump has denied those allegations.

For some of Biden's supporters and surrogates, questions related to Reade's allegation have presented a challenging balancing act — of expressing support for Biden's candidacy and character while not dismissing a sexual assault allegation.

Democrats in particular have vocally championed the #MeToo movement in recent years, advocating that all accusers to be fully heard and recognised. And gender dynamics are expected to remain at the forefront of the 2020 race, as Biden begins his search for a female running mate.

Some of the women widely expected to be on Biden's shortlist of vice presidential nominees, including Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, have recently been asked about the allegation; Biden's allies have pointed to his decades-long advocacy for women and victims of abuse, including his work on the Violence Against Women Act.

Reade, who worked as a junior staffer at Biden's office in 1993, when he was a senator from Delaware, previously told CNN she was sexually assaulted by her then-boss that year on Capitol Hill.

A former neighbour of Reade has come forward and told CNN that Reade told her about the alleged assault in the mid-1990s, and a newly surfaced video from 1993 appears to feature Reade's mother calling into "Larry King Live" to seek advice around the time of the alleged assault about how to handle "problems" her daughter had while working for a prominent US senator.

Reade has said that she complained to multiple colleagues in the office about interactions with Biden that made her uncomfortable, but not about the alleged assault.

Marianne Baker, who was Biden's executive assistant in the 1980s and 1990s when Biden was a senator, also previously said in a statement provided through the Biden campaign that she was never aware of any reports of inappropriate conduct, including from Reade.

"In all my years working for Senator Biden, I never once witnessed, or heard of, or received, any reports of inappropriate conduct, period — not from Ms. Reade, not from anyone. I have absolutely no knowledge or memory of Ms. Reade's accounting of events, which would have left a searing impression on me as a woman professional, and as a manager," Baker said.

"These clearly false allegations are in complete contradiction to both the inner workings of our Senate office and to the man I know and worked so closely with for almost two decades."

Dennis Toner, who was Biden's deputy chief of staff at the time and one of the people Reade said she had discussed her complaints with, told CNN in an interview on Thursday that he had no recollection of Reade or any conversation related to sexual harassment allegations.

"I clearly would remember if we — that is, if Tara and myself — had any kind of conversation regarding sexual harassment allegations, let alone something involving Sen. Biden. It would stick in my mind. It would be burned in my mind," Toner said. "I don't understand it."

- Reported with Associated Press and CNN

Source : 9 News More   

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