A knife-wielding man has crashed a car on Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall then set it on fire, stabbed three shoppers, killing one, before being shot dead by police.
The Somali attacker was then rushed to hospital with in a critical condition, along with two bystanders who were injured. A body covered by a sheet was seen lying in the street near the car.
The Holden Rodeo loaded with gas cylinders hit a pedestrian as it mounted the kerb and burst into flames outside Target near the Swanson Street intersection about 4.20pm on Friday.
Video shot from the scene showed the frenzied attack that carried on for more than a minute, beginning with the attacker charging at two police officers and lunging at them with a knife.
A knifeman stabbed a shopper to death on Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall and injured two others. A body was seen lying on the street covered in a white sheet
Video showed a man wielding a knife attempt to stab and slash at two police officers before he was shot and fell to the ground, and also a brave shopper try to hit him with a trolley
The officers then retreated to the other side of the road as the bearded attacker with a shaved head and dressed in a long brown tunic, pursued them as horrified bystanders called on police to shoot him
He then chased the officers around a tree as they tried to avoid his blows and convince the man to surrender, and a brave bystander tried to stop the attack by running him down with a shopping trolley.
The officers then retreated to the other side of the road as the bearded attacker with a shaved head and dressed in a long brown tunic, pursued them as horrified bystanders called on police to shoot him.
The man again attempted to stab and slash at the officers several times before one policeman unsuccessfully tried to taser him and his partner shot the assailant in the chest.
The knifeman clutched his chest and and fell to the ground where he was quickly arrested on the pavement by two officers and rushed to hospital under police guard.
Police said he had no known links to terrorism, but were keeping an open mind.
However, according to the Herald Sun, he was known to the Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation, the country’s domestic spy agency, and his links to known terror plotters are being investigated.
Witnesses said the Holden Rodeo hit a pedestrian as it mounted the kerb and burst into flames outside Target near the Swanson Street intersection about 4.20pm on Friday, before the stabbing rampage began
The man was quickly arrested on the pavement by two officers in front of shocked pedestrians who stood back to film it
Victoria Police said officers responded to reports of a car fire before they were confronted by the man.
‘Officers were confronted by a male brandishing a knife and threatening them,’ Superintendent David Clayton said.
‘At the same time, passers-by were calling out that members of the public had been stabbed. Police shot the male in the chest and he is now in a critical condition under guard in hospital.
‘There’s no known link to terrorism at this stage. We’ll keep an open mind as to whether there’s any link. It’s very early in the stages of the investigation.’
Police said they were not looking for anyone else in relation to the attack.
‘The exact circumstances are yet to be determined at this stage. The area has been cordoned off and the public are urged to avoid the area,’ they said earlier.
The attacker was taken to hospital in a critical condition with a chest injury, another with a head injury, and a third with an unknown injury. One was understood to be in critical condition.
Witnesses said one of those injured was a security guard who tried to intervene.
‘People were trying to help victims because he was just knifing at random. The security (guard) from building next door was also stabbed, but I saw he was sitting up so we know he survived,’ a witness told the Herald Sun.
Shopping trolley hero tries to take down Bourke Street attacker
A bystander has been hailed as a hero after he attempted to take down a knife-wielding man using a shopping trolley during Friday’s horrific attack on Bourke Street.
Video shot from the scene showed a brave man shoving a shopping trolley into the knifeman as he charged at two police officers and slashed at them, while a ute engulfed in flames burned in the background.
The bystander’s heroic actions were praised on social media.
‘Total respect to the shopping trolley hero trying to take down a mad knife man with nothing but a metal basket on not very good wheels,’ one person tweeted.
‘Incredible work by police in Melbourne bur also bystanders – one using a trolley to try subdue the man,’ another said.
‘Cops trying to take down man armed with knife. Passerby seems to be trying to take him out with a shopping trolley!’ one person said.
Two victims lie on the ground in pools of blood after being stabbed by the knifeman in the street, as bystanders rush to their aid
One witness said he was ‘terrified’ after seeing a body covered in a white sheet on the footpath
Victoria Police said officers responded to reports of a car fire (pictured) before they were confronted by the man
Witnesses said the car hit a pedestrian as it mounted the kerb outside Target near the Swanson Street intersection about 4.20pm on Friday
Witnesses described a chaotic scene with an injured pedestrian lying on the ground, and numerous police cars and helicopters flying overhead.
‘Police response was swift and overwhelming. I heard at least one gunshot initially,’ one said.
Another said they heard ‘what sounded like a bomb and gun shot’.
‘Roads are blocked and police advising to stay away from Bourkest. Feels like de ja vu,’ they said, referring to the car attack on Bourke Street Mall last year that killed six people.
Panicked pedestrians ran in all directions away from the scene, some hiding in nearby cafes and shops, locking themselves in back rooms.
The area was locked down with the public shooed away and stores including Myer, Target, and David Jones evacuated and the bomb squad called in to assess the car.
The burned-out car sitting where it crashed on to the pavement and exploded before the rampage began
The area was locked down with the public shooed away and stores including Myer, Target, and David Jones evacuated and the bomb squad called in to assess the car
Police are asking people to avoid the area and said more information would be given when it was available
Another said they heard ‘what sounded like a bomb and gun shot’
Warnings blared from the newly-installed terror warning loudspeakers for the first time, saying: ‘This is Victoria Police, please evacuate the area. This is Victoria Police, please evacuate the area.’
The fire was brought under control within about five minutes, a Metropolitan Fire Brigade spokeswoman said. Police are asking people to avoid the area and said more information would be given when it was available.
Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp praised emergency services for their efforts and the city for coming together to support each other.
‘Melburnians should be reassured by the rapid response from Victoria Police and emergency services who worked quickly, bravely and effectively to minimise harm to the public and contain the situation,’ she said.\
‘I’m proud of the way our community responded respectfully to police instructions at the scene.
‘I know many of us will feel the impact of these terrible events and it’s important at these times that we pull together as a community and support one another.’
It comes as a trial continues into the horrifying rampage in Bourke St in January last year. James Gargasoulas is accused of deliberately crashing into pedestrians, killing six and injuring 27 others.
Police will investigate whether Friday’s attacker was a copycat to last year’s rampage.