Violent Islam strikes Bourke St
ONE DEAD AFTER THREE STABBED IN MELBOURNE KILLER SHOT BY POLICE, DIES IN HOSPITAL SOMALI OFFENDER A PERSON OF INTEREST
The terrorist who drove a burning ute into the heart of Melbourne’s Bourke Street yesterday and stabbed three people, killing one, had links to Islamic extremists, was a person of interest to Victoria Police and was known to federal intelligence agencies.
The killer was shot in the chest at close range by police after his four-wheel drive, full of gas cylinders, exploded on Bourke Street near the mall.
The Weekend Australian understands police will investigate whether the killer, who died in Royal Melbourne Hospital last night, had links to Islamic extremism and radicalised members of the Somali community.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton last night confirmed the incident was terrorism and that the killer, who arrived in Australia from Somalia in the 1990s, had relatives who were persons of interest to Victoria Police.
The killer was also known to federal security agencies, he said.
“We are treating this as a terrorism incident,” Mr Ashton said.
“In relation to that person, he is known to police. And he’s known to police, mainly in respect to relatives he has that are certainly persons of interest to us.
“He’s someone that accordingly is known both to Victoria Police and to the federal intelligence authorities.”
Premier Daniel Andrews said last night: “These are traumatic events, they are terrifying.”
Hundreds of stunned onlookers had watched as the tall, heavyset man wearing a tunic stumbled on to Bourke Street about 4.10pm, brandishing a large knife.
Onlookers said the stabbing victim had approached the attacker after the four-wheel drive mounted the footpath.
The victim was then fatally stabbed in the chest.
Another victim was reportedly stabbed in the neck.
Two police, with two civilian onlookers circling, then attempted to calm the attacker but he lunged multiple times at an officer before his partner shot him at close range in the chest.
Two other rapid-response police pounced on the man as blood from his wound leaked on to the footpath.
It was the third horrific police incident involving a vehicle and multiple casualties in the centre of Melbourne in fewer than two years.
Superintendent David Clayton said the first police on the scene had been confronted by the man, as the four-wheel drive Holden Rodeo sat blazing on the opposite footpath.
“As they got out of the car, they were confronted by a man brandishing a knife and threatening them,” he said.
“At the same time, passers-by were calling out that members of the public had been stabbed. “Police shot the man.” Multiple videos emerged on social media of the attacker lunging several times at police officers, apparently with a knife, before the second officer shot him at very close range.
In the videos, one of the two civilians alongside the police officers is seen trying to disable the man with a shopping trolley, while the other is carrying a wooden chair.
Other footage shows the attacker being physcially restrained by police, after being shot.
Footage taken before the attacker is shot shows the ute slowly progressing down the Bourke Street hill, with its roof ablaze.
The vehicle then mounts the kerb and explodes in a ball of flames, sparking fears of a bomb.
Alex Dickinson, 33, was walking to the hairdresser on Bourke Street mall when he saw a man approach the car.
“This bystander ... went to see if he was OK, then someone jumped out of the car and he was carrying a knife,” Mr Dickinson said.
“We looked up and saw a sixfoot black dude with no hair.”
Witness Ana Kostakos told the Herald Sun “Police tried hard to beat him down with a baton but he wasn’t giving in, he wasn’t even running away — he was going towards them.
“There was a guy with a shopping trolley trying to help but everybody was running in all directions.
“People were trying to help victims because he was just knifing at random.
“The security (guard) from the building next door was also stabbed, but I saw he was sitting up so we know he survived.”
University of Melbourne commerce student Daniel Rachvuch, 20, who narrowly survived the Barcelona terror attack in August last year, said he was “sitting 20m away when I heard this explosion, and it was a car that was engulfed in flames”.
He saw the driver nearby and “(he) was wielding a knife, running around the police, tentatively looking at them before lunging at one of them, then deciding to back off and run into a shop,” Mr Rachvuch told The Weekend Australian.
“The car was still raging with flames.
“He was yelling at the police officers, he looked very distressed.
“I was in the terrorist attack in Barcelona when the car missed me by a couple of metres; now in the Melbourne CBD, where you think it would never happen.’’
Mr Dickinson’s friend Tony Nguyen, 26, a radiography student, said the killer’s weapon looked like a kitchen knife “and that’s when we ran”.
‘(He) was wielding a knife, running around the police, tentatively looking at them before lunging at one of them’ DANIEL RACHVUCH WITNESS
Markel Villasin, 22, was finishing his shift at KFC on Bourke Street as the drama unfolded.
“Me and the managers ran out and that’s when we saw the car on fire and then we saw the guy on the floor and we wanted to help,” Mr Villasin said.
“There were two blokes helping him out already — he was face-down (with) pools of blood around his face.
“I’m pretty sure he got stabbed in the face.
“I really wanted to help but I was in shock, I didn’t know what to do. Because he was on his stomach, they turned him over to see if he’s all right. He was still alive.”
A policeman confronts the killer as his ute burns on the footpath; top right, the killer tries to stab an officer; bottom right, police tackle him to the ground after shooting him in the chest