One killed as man 'stabs shoppers' and attacks police with knife on Melbourne's Bourke Street

Somali-born terrorist who stabbed three shoppers, killing one, is shot dead by police after he mounts the pavement, sets fire to his car and slashes at officers in an ‘act of evil’

  • Attacker was shot in the chest after his knife rampage and died of his wounds in Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • Holden Rodeo crashed before bursting into flames on the pavement in front of shocked afternoon shoppers
  • Man then stabbed three bystanders before slashing at two police officers who confronted him
  • Video then showed him scuffle with officers before being shot in the chest, and falling to the ground
  • A brave shopper also tried to run him down with a trolley during the chaos before the man was arrested
  • Man rushed to hospital in a critical condition with a chest injury as two others were taken with minor injuries
  • A third shopper was dead at the scene with their body laying in the street covered with a white sheet 
  • Somalian man is reportedly known to ASIO spy agency and has links to terror plotters that are being probed
  • Were you there? Do you know the driver? Email nic.white@mailonline.com 

A knife-wielding Somali terrorist has been shot dead by police after crashing a car on Melbourne’s Bourke Street and setting it on fire, before stabbing three men, killing one.

The lone wolf attacker, who a witness claimed was yelling ‘Allahu akbar’ was rushed to hospital in a critical condition but later died from his wounds. 

Officers shot him in the chest after his Holden Rodeo loaded with gas cylinders hit a pedestrian as it mounted the kerb and exploded 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, punching one through a vehicle window 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

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

The 31-year-old and his family were known to counter-terror agencies at a state and national level and were believed to have ties with north African extremist groups.

His passport was cancelled several years ago after he was noted as one of 300 potential security risks.

It was also noted police are unable to get in touch with the man’s wife, and believe she is both missing and radicalised.  

Victoria Police said they are treating the incident as a terrorist attack, and have identified the man responsible.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the attack was ‘an evil and terrifying thing that’s happened in our state’.

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody touched by this, but we will not be defined by this,’ he said. 

Victorian Liberal Party leader Matthew Guy said ‘we must eradicate this sort of thing,’ in a media conference shortly after.

‘Every resource should be going into keeping Victorians safe.’

The man again attempted to stab and slash at the officers several times before one policeman unsuccessfully tried to taser him

The other policeman shot the assailant in the chest and he clutched his chest and and fell to the ground

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

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 offender 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.

His partner then 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 plain clothing officers and rushed to hospital under police guard, where he later died on the operating table. 

The man and his family were known to the Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation, the country’s domestic spy agency.

His possible links to known terror plotters and extremist elements of the North African community in Australia are being investigated.

The man moved to Australia from Somalia in the 1990s, Victoria Police commissioner Graham Ashton said, and had a record of ‘minor’ offences in relation to ‘cannabis use, theft and driving offences’.

‘He is known to police and is known mainly in respect to relatives he has that are certainly persons of interest.’

 Victoria Police commissioner Graham Ashton and Premier Daniel Andrews spoke at a press conference after the attack

 Victoria Police commissioner Graham Ashton and Premier Daniel Andrews spoke at a press conference after the attack

‘He is someone that is known to both Victoria police and at a federal level,’ Commissioner Ashton said.

‘There is no ongoing threat, but this is an ongoing investigation. It will be handled by the counter terrorism command.’ 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also released a statement condemning the actions of the assailant.

‘Australians will never be intimidated by these appalling attacks and we will continue to go about our lives and enjoy the freedoms that the terrorists detest,’ he wrote.

‘I praise the bravery of the police who were on the scene and took action and those who selflessly came to the assistance of the injured and provided comfort to the distressed.’  

Opposition leader Bill Shorten also praised the bravery of ‘our extraordinary police officers who acted so swiftly and professionally in Melbourne’s CBD… and the passers-by whose first instinct was to go to the aid of others.’ 

 woWitnesses 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

 woWitnesses 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

He was rushed to hospital under police guard in a critical condition

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. 

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 Royal Melbourne Hospital in a critical condition with a chest injury, where he later died. 

One of his victims had a head injury, and another an unknown injury. Witnesses said one of those injured was a security guard who tried to intervene. 

Another man, in his 60’s, died of his injuries. 

‘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

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

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 

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 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 Bourke St. 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 and the public shooed away while stores including Myer, Target, and David Jones evacuated and the bomb squad was 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 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

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

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' 

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. 

The fire brigade initially discovered ‘BBQ style gas cylinders’ inside the vehicle, but the bomb squad ‘rendered them useless’ shortly thereafter.

Police are asking people to avoid the area, saying the streets may be blocked off until as late as 8am Saturday morning.

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. 

Bourke Street Rampage 2017

January 17, 2017: James Gargasoulas told a co-worker that if he were to be chased by police, he would keep driving and start running into people.

January 18, 2017: Gargasoulas stole a Holden Commodore from Windsor.

Early January 20, 2017: Gargasoulas and his brother got into a heated argument at their mother’s apartment. James attacked him with a large knife. He then met up with an associate at the Gatwick Hotel in St Kilda, where he told him that he was going to do something ‘drastic’, and to ‘watch me, you’ll see me tonight on the news.’

January 20, 2017: Gargasoulas, 28, led police on a chase through Melbourne’s CBD. He ploughed his maroon Holden Commodore through pedestrians on Bourke Street during the lunch-time rush. Six people were killed and another 27 were injured.

March 1, 2018: Gargasoulas entered a mental health plea, telling the court he was suffering from schizophrenia in the weeks leading up to the attack in the hopes of avoiding a trial.

June 14, 2018: A jury determined Gargasoulas does in fact have a mental illness, but is still fit to stand trial. 

November 7, 2018: Gargasoulas’ trial begins in Melbourne.

November 8, 2018: Gargasoulas pleads not guilty to all 33 charges against him, including murder.

November 9, 2018: The trial continues.

 

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