TASSIE TER­ROR HERO

BRAVE BID TO STOP DEADLY AT­TACK

Mercury (Hobart) - - FRONT PAGE - JACK PAYNTER, DAVID HUR­LEY and ANEEKA SIMONIS

TAS­MA­NIAN man Rod Pat­ter­son is be­ing hailed a hero af­ter he was hurt try­ing to stop a knife-wield­ing ter­ror­ist at­tack in the cen­tre of Mel­bourne yes­ter­day.

Mr Pat­ter­son, right, is re­cov­er­ing af­ter be­ing stabbed dur­ing the as­sault in Bourke St that left two peo­ple dead, in­clud­ing the at­tacker, who was shot by po­lice.

Premier Will Hodg­man paid trib­ute to Mr Pat­ter­son, say­ing ev­ery­one’s thoughts were with a “brave Tas­ma­nian … a nicer bloke you wouldn’t meet”.

It’s not sur­pris­ing he would step in to help oth­ers, we all wish him well. — PREMIER WILL HODG­MAN

A TAS­MA­NIAN man is be­ing hailed a hero af­ter in­ter­ven­ing to try and stop a Mel­bourne ter­ror at­tack.

Launceston man Rod Pat­ter­son was stabbed dur­ing a fren­zied knife at­tack on Bourke St in Mel­bourne’s CBD, which claimed the life of an­other man.

Mr Pat­ter­son, 58, was taken to hos­pi­tal in a se­ri­ous but sta­ble con­di­tion and is ex­pected to be OK.

His wife Ma­ree Pat­ter­son con­firmed in a Face­book post that Rod had been stabbed.

“Un­for­tu­nately we got caught up in the at­tack in Bourke St this af­ter­noon and Rod­ney was hurt — good news is he is in a great hos­pi­tal and do­ing OK given the cir­cum­stances — can’t take calls at the mo­ment but will speak to ev­ery­one when I can,” she wrote.

“Thanks to ev­ery­one for their wishes and car­ing.” Mr Pat­ter­son was pres­i­dent of the South Launceston Foot­ball Club when it won the TSL pre­mier­ship.

The busi­ness­man had re­cently re­tired from his job as Launceston Au­to­barn fran­chisee and had just re­turned from an over­seas hol­i­day.

“It’s not sur­pris­ing that some­one like Rod would not just be a by­stander and that he would try to help out,” said La­bor state Franklin MP and ex-South Launceston footballer David O’Byrne.

“My thoughts are with his fam­ily and I wish him a speedy re­cov­ery.”

Premier Will Hodg­man said ev­ery­one’s thoughts were with a “brave Tas­ma­nian, his fam­ily and friends”.

“A nicer bloke you wouldn’t meet,” he said.

“It’s not sur­pris­ing he would step in to help oth­ers, we all wish him well.”

The knife-wield­ing man who launched the at­tack had links to con­victed ter­ror­ist plot­ters. The man, of So­mali her­itage, stabbed a per­son to death and in­jured two oth­ers af­ter his Holden Rodeo ex­ploded just af­ter 4pm.

Heroic po­lice of­fi­cers and by­standers tack­led the man — who was known to the Aus­tralian Se­cu­rity In­tel­li­gence Or­gan­i­sa­tion — as he lunged at them with a knife.

He was shot in the chest and died in hos­pi­tal last night. Of­fi­cers last night were un­der­stood to be raid­ing the home of the man, who sources said op­er­ated as a lone wolf. Sev­eral gas cylin­ders were found in the ex­ploded car, ac­cord­ing to po­lice sources.

Bourke St was thrown into chaos by the deadly peakhour ram­page, as hun­dreds of peo­ple fled the scene out­side the Tar­get Cen­tre.

A brave by­stander who used a traf­fic cone to take on the man said: “He had crazy eyes.”

The two in­jured vic­tims were be­ing treated in hos­pi­tal af­ter be­ing stabbed in the up­per body.

Ter­ri­fy­ing video footage of the in­ci­dent showed a bearded man with a shaved head swing­ing a knife at po­lice be­fore he was shot by one of the of­fi­cers.

“The cops were back­ing off but he kept com­ing at them,” a wit­ness said.

Two by­standers stepped in to sur­round the man, in­clud­ing one who used a shop­ping trol­ley as a weapon. Ter­ri­fied on­look­ers yelled “shoot him, shoot him”.

Chris­tian, who was in a nearby book­store, said he heard a loud noise and saw po­lice chas­ing a man.

“I heard a loud bang, I ran out­side and saw ev­ery­one was run­ning the other way,” he said. “I saw a man cov­ered in blood and also saw of­fi­cers chas­ing some­one.”

Heav­ily armed po­lice flooded the area in the min­utes af­ter the at­tack.

The ter­ror pub­lic ser­vice sys­tem sirens sounded in the CBD, the first time they have been used for an ac­tual in­ci­dent.

The sirens sounded be­fore 6pm, with a pub­lic an­nounce­ment urg­ing peo­ple with in­for­ma­tion to con­tact po­lice.

Emer­gency text mes­sages were sent to peo­ple in the CBD area stat­ing: “Vic­to­ria Po­lice is re­spond­ing to an in­ci­dent at the cor­ner of Bourke and Swanston streets. Avoid the area.”

Of­fi­cers were ini­tially called to re­ports of a car fire near Bourke St, close to where ac­cused killer James Gar­ga­soulas al­legedly killed six peo­ple and in­jured dozens more in Jan­uary last year.

“Nearby po­lice quickly re­sponded to the in­ci­dent,” Su­per­in­ten­dent David Clay­ton said last night.

“As they got out of the car they were con­fronted by a male who was bran­dish­ing a knife and threat­en­ing them.

“At the same time passersby were call­ing out that mem­bers of the pub­lic had been stabbed.

“Po­lice shot the male in the chest. Three peo­ple were stabbed and one was de­ceased at the scene.

“Two of the vic­tims are cur­rently in hos­pi­tal. The bomb re­sponse unit have cor­doned off the area.”

He added: “Po­lice at this stage are not look­ing for any other of­fend­ers.”

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