More than a dozen pedestrians, including a toddler, have been injured with four fighting for life in hospital after a car ‘deliberately’ crashed into rush hour crowds in the heart of Melbourne.
A white Suzuki SUV with p-plates, driven by 32-year-old man of Afghan descent, who The Herald Sun have identified as Saeed Noori, crashed into a large group of commuters and shoppers at the corner of Melbourne’s busy Elizabeth Street and Flinders Street at 4.41pm on Thursday.
The 32-year-old lone wolf driver was known to police and was arrested at the scene.
The driver, who is an Australian citizen, is under police guard at hospital with shoulder and hand injuries.
Victoria Police said the driver has a history of drug use, criminal history with a minor assault in 2010 and is on a mental health plan.
A second 24-year-old man, who had a bag of three knives, was arrested but police believe he had no link to the incident.
‘Clarity on the second offender that is in custody, it has not yet been determined whether he was involved, and it is quite probable he was not,’ Acting Commissioner Shane Patton said.
The 24-year-old man was seen filming the rampage.
The crash injured 19 people, including the driver and an off duty police officer and four people are in a critical condition while a four-year-old boy was left with serious head injuries but is in a stable condition.
A 25-year-old man, 40-year-old man, 43-year-old man, 45-year-old man, 83-year-old man, two 25-year-old women, 30-year-old woman, 35-year-old woman, 47-year-old woman and a 58-year-old woman were some of the victims injured in the rampage, according to police.
Another three men and two women were injured but their ages are unknown.
Victoria Police believe the incident has no link to terror-related attacks.
‘We do not have any evidence to a connection with terrorism,’ Acting Commissioner Patton said.
‘At this stage we believe it is a deliberate act, however we do not know the motivation.’
Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews said Thursday night the ‘horrific act’ was targeted against ‘innocent bystanders’.
‘What occurred on Flinders Street this afternoon was an act of evil and an act of cowardice,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘At a time of the year when so many families are celebrating the end of they year, doing their Christmas shopping … we have seen a horrific act.’