A man deliberately drove into pedestrians, killing four and injuring more than 20, in the center of Australia’s second-largest city of Melbourne on Friday, police said yesterday, adding that the incident was not terrorism-related.
Police eventually rammed the car and shot the 26-year-old driver in the arm before dragging him from the vehicle and arresting him.
Police said the man had a history of family violence and was wanted over a stabbing earlier in the day.
Pursued by police cars, the man had been seen driving erratically before speeding into a pedestrian mall, striking people, police said.
A shop video showed several people diving into a convenience store as the car raced along a footpath.
“We witnessed about half-a-dozen people that ricocheted off the car one way or another. I saw one person fly up almost roof level of the car as they got thrown up against one of the retail stores,” Sharn Baylis, 46, told reporters by telephone.
“You could hear the gasping and the screaming from people, then you just started hearing the screams and the crying as it sunk in,” she said.
Baylis said she rushed across tram tracks with other bystanders and gave cardiopulmonary resuscitation first aid to a badly hurt man who had been run over.
“I think it was pretty much in vain at that point. The seriousness of his injuries, he was probably the worst I saw,” she said.
One of the dead was a child.
“We’re not regarding this as a terrorism-related incident,” Victoria state police commissioner Graham Ashton told reporters.
Video from a witness showed a maroon-colored car driving in circles in an intersection outside the Flinders Street Railway Station.
Witness Maria Kitjapanon told Melbourne’s Age newspaper that police eventually rammed the car.
“There were probably 10 police surrounding that guy’s car with guns drawn and they fired into the car. Then they dragged someone out via the passengers side, then all 10 of them sat on top of him,” she said.
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