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Byron Shire
May 16, 2021

SUV mows down 19 pedestrians in Melbourne

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A man with a history of mental health and drug problems remains in hospital under police guard after a 4WD deliberately mowed down pedestrians in Melbourne.

A four-year-old boy with head injuries is among 19 people injured in the incident at Flinders Street on Thursday afternoon.

The boy is believed to be in a stable condition but four others are considered critical.

The driver, a 32-year-old Australian citizen of Afghan descent, was arrested after being dragged out of the car by an off-duty policeman.

Witnesses continue to come forward on Friday, telling how the car raced at up to 100 km/h through pedestrians lined up at a busy crossing which is used by up to 600,000 people during the morning and afternoon peak.

“I was just walking down the street, just in front of the shop, and just hearing a thumping noise,” a shop owner named as Socrates told the Nine Nework.

“I turned to the left and I see this SUV just going really fast and then just, you know, people getting smashed everywhere.

“People are just walking up and down the street, minding their own business, and then this happens to their life, you know. It’s wrong.”

The driver is known to police following a 2010 minor assault matter and has a history of drug use and mental health issues.

Acting Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said he was on a mental health plan, but was not on bail or any corrections order.

“He is still in custody, under arrest for these offences, for what we allege was a deliberate act.”

Victorian Police say there’s no evidence to suggest any links to terrorism, but investigations are continuing.

The attack comes 11 months after six people were killed in a similar incident just four blocks away in Bourke Street.

“The only thing that slowed him down was him hitting pedestrians,” witness Jim told ABC TV.

“There was no braking, there was no slowing down, he went straight through the intersection. All you could hear was the sound of the car hitting people and screams.”

The people in hospital, including the off-duty police officer, range in age from four to 83 years.

Premier Daniel Andrews condemned the “horrific act, an evil act, an act of cowardice, perpetrated against innocent bystanders” but urged the public to go about their festive activities.

Mr Patton reassured the public hundreds more police would be on the streets over Christmas and New Year.

Meanwhile, a 24-year-old man arrested after being seen filming the incident and found carrying three knives in his bag was released overnight and is expected to be charged on summons with drugs and weapons possession.

The offences are not linked to the Flinders Street incident, police said.

All roads in Melbourne’s CBD reopened about 2am and trams were operating as normal on Friday morning.


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1 COMMENT

  1. Vic police and Daniel Andrews prefer to maintain the myth that this was just a random incident than face the fact it was, clearly from the assailant’s own mouth, a vengeance attack because of the way Australians think of Muslims. It’s precisely this kind of murderous action that makes Australians very wary of all Muslims in our midsts.

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