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Community Unites in Grief: Candlelight Vigil to Honor Victims of Bondi Attack

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Hundreds expected to gather at Bondi beach to memorialise the victims of the April 13 attack at Westfield Bondi Junction in Sydney.

A candlelight vigil to honour the victims of the Bondi Junction mass killing will be held tonight at 5:30 p.m. on the southern end of Bondi Beach. Hundreds are expected to come and pay their respects.

Attendees are advised to bring candles and the vigil will begin with a minute of silence to remember those who died in the stabbing spree. Counsellors and mental health first aid will be available.

New South Wales (NSW) Premier Chris Minns said in a media release that the vigil will allow people to come together to support and honour the victims and survivors of this horrific tragedy.

“This has been a devastating attack that’s touched everybody in the state, whether you knew one of the victims or not,” Mr. Minns said.

“I hope they can draw some strength from the fact that there’s many people that are standing with them during this time.”

“I think if we can stand together during these difficult periods, we can send a message that there’s far more good people in this city than there are bad actors and than there is evil.”

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Mayor of Waverley Council Paula Masselos said that the community is in deep grief.

“This vigil will be an opportunity to reflect and commence healing,” Ms. Masselos said.

A temporary memorial floral tribute remains at Oxford St Mall in Bondi Junction and a formal memorial service will occur later. There is also a plan for a permanent memorial to honour the victims.

Gender-Based Violence

On April 13, 40-year-old Joel Cauchi went on a stabbing spree at the Bondi Junction Westfield in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, killing six people and putting at least 12 others in the hospital. Six people remain in hospital, including a nine-month-old baby girl.

The names of the six killed were Ashlee Good, 38; Dawn Singleton, 25; Jade Young, 47;  Pikria Darchia, 55; Yixuan Cheng, 27; and Faraz Tahir, 30.

Ashlee Good was a first-time mother who died protecting her baby, Dawn Singleton was the daughter of millionaire John Singleton, and Faraz Tahir, an on-duty security guard, was a refugee from Pakistan.

Five of the six people killed and nine of the 12 people hospitalised by the assault were women.

Following the attack, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said that there was a gender-based violence crisis in Australia.

Mr. Dutton supported calls for a royal commission—an investigation independent of the government into a matter of great importance—to examine the issue.

“I would be happy to support anything at all that sees the incidence reduced, that sees women and children growing up in a safer environment,” he told ABC’s Insiders program.

“There are a number of factors, and I don’t think there is any one solution here, but again, I think social media has a role to play here.

“The computer games young boys are playing where violence is a very significant part of what’s being enforced into their minds on a regular basis,” Mr. Dutton said.

Flowers with a ribbon reading "R.I.P" are seen at an entrance to Westfield Bondi Junction, in Sydney, Australia, on April 14, 2024. (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
Flowers with a ribbon reading “R.I.P” are seen at an entrance to Westfield Bondi Junction, in Sydney, Australia, on April 14, 2024. (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Preventing Future Attacks

Agricultural Minister Murray Watt said that while tougher knife offence penalties may be considered among some states and territories, he rejected calls for security guards to be armed.

“We need to be careful not to overreact to these things, and we don’t want to see our shopping centres become sort of armed places where people feel on edge,” Mr. Watt told Sky News Australia on Sunday.

“But you can’t have events like the last week occur and not rethink what might be needed, so I think that will be a really healthy discussion to have.”

A major coronial inquiry will be conducted in response to the attack with a focus on the adequacy of NSW’s mental health funding and support.

The investigation will also analyse police response and Mr. Cauchi’s interactions with NSW and Queensland agencies. The inquiry will be supported by up to $18 million (US$12 million) in extra funding.

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