TASSIE TERROR HERO
BRAVE BID TO STOP DEADLY ATTACK
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.”