A knife-wielding Somali attacker has been shot dead by police after crashing a car on Melbourne’s Bourke Street and setting it on fire, before stabbing three shoppers, killing one.
The attacker, who a witness claimed was yelling ‘Allahu akbar’ was then 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.
He also attacked two police officers, punching one through a vehicle window and lunging at them with a knife.
Video showing attack as it unfolds
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
He then 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 man again attempted to stab and slash at the officers several times before one policeman unsuccessfully tried to taser him and his partner shot the assailant in the chest.
The knifeman clutched his chest and fell to the ground where he was quickly arrested on the pavement by two officers and rushed to hospital under police guard. No officers were injured.
Police said he had no known links to terrorism, but were keeping an open mind.
However, the Somalian man is reportedly known to the Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation, the country’s domestic spy agency, and has links to terror plotters that are being probed.
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.
‘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.