Paramedics who raced to help after yesterday's stabbing incident at a central Dunedin supermarket were faced with a "confronting and challenging" scene "totally out of the ordinary".
A 42-year-old man has appeared in the Dunedin District Court this afternoon charged with four counts of attempted murder after he allegeldy stabbed two Countdown staffers and a couple shopping in the supermarket just after 2.30pm.
Three people were in a critical condition and the fourth had serious injuries.
The alleged offender was still at the scene when St John crews arrived.
St John Coastal Otago territory manager Doug Third spoke to the Herald this afternoon about their efforts.
"When they arrived there was obviously a lot of activity and confusion," he said.
"It was a challenging and confronting scene, the sort of thing we don't do on a regular basis.
"It was out of the ordinary … they took a bit of a pause when they first arrived, and then forged on."
Third could not discuss the specifics of the victims' injuries or the treatment paramedics gave them but he applauded their work.
Today police confirmed three of the victims were in serious but stable conditions.
The fourth was in a moderate condition.
Three underwent surgery last night.
Third said St John staff who attended were "doing fine" today and were expected back for night shift this evening.
"Everyone's thoughts are with the patients and their families," he said.
Third said frontline staff were "professional and well trained" and did not hesitate going into a scene to help the injured, even when the alleged offender was still present.
He said St John worked "closely" with police to ensure safety for everyone at a scene.
"Usually they just get on with it … they did a rapid assessment, treated the patients and transferred them (to hospital)," Third said.
Police and Southern District Health Board clinical director for Dunedin Hospital"s Emergency Department Dr Richard Stephenson will speak to media at 3pm about the ongoing investigation.
It is expected they will give an update on the patients and discuss the work done at hospital to save their lives.
The alleged offender has been described as a frequent Countdown customer.
He was known for causing problems by "flipping out" in the past.
The 42-year-old man is due to appear in the Dunedin District Court this afternoon charged with four counts of attempted murder.
Several people told the Otago Daily Times the man was a known troublemaker who was regularly in the supermarket's vicinity.
One person recalled him losing his temper and "charging" at someone in a previous incident in central Dunedin.
A frequent supermarket customer said he was there "every day flipping out" and was always "screaming at people".
Among the injured were two Countdown staffers and a Corrections officer and his partner.
The son of one of those stabbed told the ODT his mother's wounds were "pretty bad" and he spent all of yesterday by her bedside.
He understood his mother had been blindsided during the incident, but had been unable
to confirm the exact sequence of events.
"She wasn't really talking much yesterday," he said.
Yesterday's news had been so devastating, the victim's son said he could not even remember how he had found out.
He said he was struggling to take it all in and his siblings felt the same.
Corrections Southern regional commissioner Ben Clark said their focus was ensuring that the staff member, their family and colleagues had all the support they needed during this ''stressful and difficult time''.
''We would like to thank the emergency services, police and supermarket staff for the help they provided following the incident.
''To respect the privacy of our staff member and their family, we will not be providing any further comment.''