Knife-wielding man enters Auckland gym, sending members running

CityFitness member Matthew Le describes how a knife-wielding man sent other gymgoers fleeing St Lukes gymnasium on Monday morning. Video / NZ Herald

Police have arrested a man after he entered a fitness center in Auckland brandishing a knife, forcing gym-goers to flee.

Matthew Le, a member of City Fitness St Lukes gymnasium, described the scene this morning as chaotic and shocking.

A man entered the gymnasium yelling at staff at 8.30am and was asked to leave.

When he returned half an hour later, he was armed with a knife and pointed the gun at people.

Le said he was alerted when he heard someone shouting near the door and noticed people heading in that direction.

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“I thought either they were just nosy or someone told them to get out of the gym.”

The herd followed him, as the group arrived at the door, the receptionist stopped them.

“We were told by the receptionist that a mad guy came into the gym and started yelling at the staff but he’s gone now so someone probably had a bad case on Monday.

“So we all went back to training.”

Le said when he finished half an hour later and got in his car to leave, the situation changed.

“I heard everyone in the gym running full speed outside like someone was chasing them.

“I rolled down my window and asked them what happened and they told me the same guy had come back and this time with the knife chasing everyone.

“Everyone got in their car and drove off. The police arrived a few minutes later.”

Matthew Le, a member of CityFitness NZ gym (St Lukes), saw a man carrying a knife enter the fitness center this morning.  Photo / Jed Bradley
Matthew Le, a member of CityFitness NZ gym (St Lukes), saw a man carrying a knife enter the fitness center this morning. Photo / Jed Bradley

Another gym member was working out in the machine section, when he saw the man in a black hoodie run over the entrance to the fitness center and jump the door.

“I first heard him come in around 8.10am, there was a lot of screaming but he left shortly after.”

Police were called and everyone was back to normal, he said.

“But again at 8.30am I saw the man come back, at which point he locked himself inside so he ran out the back exit into the driveway.

“I saw the knife in his hand as he ran towards the machines. I started running and told people to get out the back door.”

The gym member said two police cars arrived at the scene and officers quickly left with the man.

“The other officers were at the scene talking to the people who hit him with a car.”

A man walked into an Auckland gymnasium with a knife this morning, scaring staff and members.  Photo/Google
A man walked into an Auckland gymnasium with a knife this morning, scaring staff and members. Photo/Google

A police spokesman said they arrested a man following a disorderly incident at St Lukes Shopping Centre.

“The first reports that the man was verbally abusive towards the public came in after 8.30am.

“Police responded and quickly took the man into custody. A knife was also located at the same time.”

No members of the public were injured, but upon arrest the man was found to be injured, the spokesman said.

Police took the man to hospital for further evaluation.

The gym declined to comment.

In May, a volunteer firefighter was stabbed to death at a footbridge nearby Mount Albert. Her body was found on the Roy Clements Treeway, a popular walkway next to Mt Albert Grammar School which connects Alberton Ave and St Lukes shopping centre.

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