A “beloved member” of the Church of Scientology died of a stab wound to the neck and another man was injured Thursday after a knife attack at the organisation’s Asia-Pacific headquarters in Sydney.
Police said the teenage suspect, now in custody, was asked to leave the premises but instead brandished a knife and fatally stabbed the 24-year-old victim, believed to be Taiwanese.
The suspect “also caused some lacerations to an older gentleman” who was escorting him from the sprawling facility in the leafy north of the city, said Chief Inspector Simon Jones.
Jones said the initial altercation between the men appeared to have been related to a “domestic incident that occurred yesterday”, without elaborating.
After the attack, the unnamed 16-year-old was approached by police and asked to drop the knife, before being arrested.
The victims were rushed to hospital where the 24-year-old man died after serious bleeding.
The older man is said to be in a stable condition with a minor injury and has been released from hospital.
The Church of Scientology lamented the “very unfortunate matter” and in a statement to public broadcaster ABC said the deceased victim had been a “beloved member of our Church”.
The suspect remains in custody and is assisting with enquiries, police said.
The incident occurred at what the organisation describes as its Asia-Pacific spiritual headquarters.
The centre, dubbed the “Ideal Advanced Organization for Australasia”, was opened in 2016 by David Miscavige, the leader of the Church of Scientology. It is the group’s largest facility outside the United States.
According to Scientology.org the 145,000-square-foot (13,000-square-metre) building features 60 spiritual “auditing” rooms.