A 16-year-old boy stabbed two Church of Scientology members outside the organization's headquarters in Sydney, Australia, killing one and injuring another on Thursday, police said.
The teen was being escorted out of the church in Sydney’s Chatswood district about 12:30 p.m. Thursday when he began attacking the two staff members with a 10-inch kitchen knife, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported. It’s unclear if the 16-year-old was a member of the church, but police said he had a “lawful reason” to be there before being asked to leave.
"On being escorted down the roadway a knife was produced and with that knife he stabbed a 24-year-old who we believe to be a Taiwanese male in the neck," Detective Chief Inspector Jones said. "He also caused some lacerations to an older gentleman also escorting him from the premises."
Both men were taken to the hospital, where the 24-year-old who was “bleeding heavily” from the stab wound to his neck later died.
The teen was taken into custody and is cooperating with the investigation following the “domestic alteration,” police said.
The Church of Scientology said the man killed was a “beloved” member of the congregation.
“This very unfortunate matter is in the hands of the police. We cannot make any further comment beyond the fact that the victim was a beloved member of our Church,” the church said in a statement. “The Church is providing the police with any assistance needed in their investigation.”
The Chatswood Scientology Center, known as the Advanced Organization and Saint Hill Australia, New Zealand & Oceania, opened in September 2016 and is considered the “spiritual headquarters” for Scientologists in the Asia-Pacific region. It is the biggest Scientology center outside of the United States and lauded by the organization as an “architectural masterpiece,” ABC reported.
The center also has a chapel, auditorium and “purification center” that includes a gym and sauna, along with training facilities.
Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige called the 145,000-square-feet headquarters an “arboreal palace nestled at the rim of a eucalyptus wonderland.”