16 Apr 2024

Damien Guerot, who fought off Bondi Junction attacker with bollard, offered permanent visa

3:31 pm on 16 April 2024
A man with a bollard faces off against a man armed with a knife at Bondi Westfield in Sydney.

Damien Guerot faces the Bondi mall assailant armed with a bollard, during the incident in Sydney on Saturday. Photo: Screenshot

Australia's prime minister has declared the French man dubbed 'bollard man' who "bravely" confronted Joel Cauchi during a stabbing rampage at Bondi Junction can stay in Australia as long as he wants.

A video widely circulated on social media showed Damien Guerot holding a shopping centre bollard up to try and stop the knife-wielding Cauchi in his tracks on Saturday afternoon.

He then chased behind NSW police Inspector Amy Scott, who shot the attacker dead, holding a chair as a potential weapon.

During an interview, Guerot told Channel Seven he was on a work visa which is due to expire in a couple of months.

Anthony Albanese said earlier on Tuesday that Guerot was welcome to stay in Australia.

"I say this to Damien Guerot, who is dealing with his visa applications, that you are welcome here," he said.

"You are welcome to stay for as long as you like."

A petition was set up by a member of the public calling for him to be granted an Australian citizenship, describing his actions as a "true act of Australianism".

"It says a lot about the nature of humanity at a time when we are facing difficult issues that someone who's not a citizen of this country stood bravely at the top of those escalators and stopped this perpetrator from getting onto another floor and potentially inflicting further carnage," Albanese said.

During the attack, six people were murdered and a dozen more were badly injured.

Six patients remain in hospital, including a nine-month-old girl.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (2nd L), New South Wales Premier Chris Minns (2nd R) and federal member of parliament Allegra Spender (L) leave flowers outside the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping mall in Sydney on April 14, 2024, the day after a 40-year-old knifeman with mental illness roamed the packed shopping centre killing six people and seriously wounding a dozen others. (Photo by DAVID GRAY / AFP)

Anthony Albanese, second from left, lays flowers near the scene of the attack on Sunday. Photo: AFP

Thousands of people ran for their lives or hid in shops and fire exits.

Guerot, a construction worker who was on his way to the gym, ran towards the danger.

In vision of the incident he can be seen holding the bollard to protect himself from Cauchi and trying to throw it at him to bring an end to the attack.

Riess Tudela watched it happen from above.

"I saw an extremely brave gentleman trying to fend this man off the escalators, and he's just an absolute hero," Tudela told 7.30.

Guerot told Channel Seven he and his friend Silas Despreaux were acting on adrenaline.

"I don't know, we just [thought] we needed [to do] something to catch him," Guerot said.

"You cannot think in that moment, it's [just] adrenaline."

He recalled "[the attacker's] eyes were like empty eyes … he wasn't there".

Guerot said he could not be held up for long and praised the actions of Inspector Scott who ran after the attacker and told him to drop the knife.

When he lunged at her she fired three shots, killing him.

Albanese thanked Guerot for his "extraordinary bravery".

He went as far as saying he is the type of person he would welcome as an Australian citizen but admitted "that would of course be a loss for France".

"On Saturday we saw some of the best of human character at the same time we saw such devastating tragedy," Albanese said.

- This story was first published by the ABC.

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