Melbourne attack: One dead after deadly Bourke Street knife rampage

Clay Curtis
November 9, 2018

Law enforcement officers responding to a vehicle fire in the city's central business district were "confronted by a male brandishing a knife and threatening them", Victoria police superintendent David Clayton told reporters Friday.

"We are now treating this as a terrorism event", said Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton, adding that the suspect is "someone that is known to us" and had been travelling in a 4×4 packed with gas bottles.

He was shot by police and died shortly after arriving at hospital under police guard.

Two men shopping in the area told the ABC they saw a man throw what they thought to be a bomb into his auto. He also said police don't think there's any "ongoing threat" to the public.

Police said officers "initially responded to a report of a auto on fire" in the city centre at 4:20 pm local time, but discovered at the scene that members of the public had been stabbed.

Police later said the auto from which the slain suspect, a Somali national, had emerged, contained gas cylinders and was on fire when they arrived.

Police shot the man in the chest after he charged at them with the knife.

Police said the man got out of a pickup truck, which then caught fire, and attacked three bystanders with a knife.

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Forensic investigators combed through the scene late Friday, where the dead victim's body lay covered in a white plastic sheet.

Counter-terrorism police and intelligence officers are still piecing together how the incident occurred, but said the attacker was known to intelligence services.

Clayton said police had arrived at Bourke Street, a busy shopping thoroughfare, in response to a vehicle fire.

Video posted to Twitter and broadcast on television showed a man repeatedly swinging an object at two police officers in the downtown area of the city.

"Anyone with information or who witnessed the incident is asked to go to Melbourne West Police Station to make a statement".

"In the midst of tragedy, you can find such pride in the work of by-standers to come to the aid of others", said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

The police cordoned off the area and warned people from coming near the area.

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