A boy aged 16 has been arrested after a member of the Church of Scientology was stabbed to death and another man injured outside its Australian headquarters in Sydney on Thursday, police have confirmed.
The youth was being escorted off the premises by the two victims when he allegedly drew a kitchen knife and attacked them, stabbing one in the neck and slashing at the other man, CNN affiliate Seven News cited police as saying.
It said police believe the teenager had been asked to leave the center due to a domestic incident on Wednesday. Both injured men were taken to the Royal North Shore Hospital but one of them, aged in his 20s, died there. The boy was detained at the scene, New South Wales police said in a report.
The deceased victim was a member of the church, a Scientology spokesman confirmed to CNN. The facility, the Advanced Organization Saint Hill Scientology headquarters, is the church’s Australasian headquarters.
“This very unfortunate matter is in the hands of the police,” spokesman Kei Sato said in a statement.
“We cannot make any further comment beyond the fact that the victim was a beloved member of our church. The church is providing the police with any assistance needed in their investigation.”
Police were photographed taking evidence from the scene.
Seven News reported that the deceased man was from Taiwan, which is Scientology’s most targeted Asian center. There is a church in the southern city of Kaohsiung and 13 missions across the island.
The sprawling, 145,000-square-foot center in the Sydney district of Chatswood offers “unbridled expansion of spiritual progress for Scientologists across Australia, New Zealand and Asia,” according to its website.
It was formerly the site of the National Acoustic Laboratory and was sold to the church in 2014 for a reported $37 million, according to CNN affiliate Nine News.
Scientology was accorded the status of an official religion, which gives it tax exemption, in Australia in 1983.