UPDATE: Victoria Police said that the attack in the Melbourne CBD is now being treated as a terrorism incident. The attacker has since died in hospital.
A man has been shot by police after he stabbed three people and set a car on fire in Melbourne’s CBD, Victoria Police said at a press conference on Nov. 9.
The incident occurred between Swanston and Russell Street along the pedestrian strip of Bourke Street mall around 4:20 p.m. local time, according to eyewitnesses, in what has been described as a distressing scene.
The exploded car was inside a designated pedestrian area. The City of Melbourne is in the process of installing bollards to block traffic access to pedestrian malls.
Eyewitnesses told the ABC that a man was seen throwing something—perhaps a bomb—into what was allegedly his car, which then exploded into flames.
On Bourke St. Roads blocked. pic.twitter.com/wimeJLNXWy
— mike yang (@fayfayang) November 9, 2018
An unidentified witness then approached the alleged driver and was stabbed in the neck. That witness died at the scene.
The suspect attacked and stabbed two other people, with one reported to have suffered a head wound. Both are currently in hospital.
Police who were in the area arrived promptly on the scene after reports of the burning vehicle. They were immediately attacked by the suspect wielding his knife. Witnesses then described that the police attempted to disarm the man with the help of two witnesses as the suspect kept lunging at them.
Superintendent David Clayton told the media at a press conference that “passersby were calling out that members of the public had been stabbed.”
One witness told the Herald Sun that bystanders were calling to police, “shoot him, shoot him.”
We’re live with Superintendent David Clayton following an incident on Bourke Street in the CBD this afternoon.
تم النشر بواسطة Victoria Police في الخميس، ٨ نوفمبر ٢٠١٨
Police then “shot the male in the chest and he is now in a critical condition, under guard at hospital,” Clayton said.
Witness Drew Hair told AAP that the suspect was dressed in a black tunic and white pants, was about six foot four inches tall, and of African appearance.
— windix (@windix) November 9, 2018
Police said that there was no known link to terrorism at this stage and that “we’ll keep an open mind as to whether there’s any link.”
No police officers were injured in the attack and police have confirmed that they are not pursuing any other individuals in relation to the incident.
Clayton added that the bomb squad had cleared the area and deemed it safe, and that fire crews had extinguished the burning car. Clayton said that the public is still advised that the area remains closed as investigations are ongoing at the crime scene.
“We ask the public, unless you’ve got a purpose to be here, please avoid the area, we’ll provide regular updates through the media in relation to when the area is safe and clear,” he said.
Bourke Street in Melbourne CBD remains closed following an incident.
Closures have been set up with no access from Swanston St to Exhibition St.
Russell St remains open to traffic.
Trams not operating on Swanston or Bourke St around closure.
— Victoria Police (@VictoriaPolice) November 9, 2018
Yarra Trams advised that a temporary diversion of trams would be in place Friday night following the incident.
Update: please avoid the area if possible and follow instructions by @VictoriaPolice . You may consider Elizabeth St trams and City Loop trains to connect with diverting trams and other services. Details: https://t.co/fHPX5JE8xG
— Yarra Trams (@yarratrams) November 9, 2018
Police are calling for witnesses to come forward. Witnesses can make a statement at Melbourne West Police Station. Any witnesses who caught footage of the incident are also asked to upload their files to the Victoria Police Facebook page.
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