Three people including a 10 year old child died and at least 25 people have been injured after a car bulldozed through pedestrians in a high-speed police chase in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD.
Ambulance Victoria say they are treating 20 people for injuries after the carnage, some serious. Police shot the man driving the car and he is being treated for non-life threatening bullet wounds.
The car ploughed into the pedestrians in the Bourke St Mall, a busy shopping area, just before 14:00 (03:00 GMT).
Footage broadcast on local media showed a maroon car driving in circles in front of nearby Flinders Street railway station.
A witness told the BBC she saw pedestrians try to get out the way as the car mounted a footpath. “It hit a few people there outside the offices and convenience store and sent them flying into the air, then kept driving,” the witness said.
“It hit some more further up the path. I didn’t know what was happening at first. People were screaming and there was a lot of sound and dust – I thought a building was coming down.”
Another witness, Sharn Baylis, estimated the car was travelling at 60km/h (37 mph) “in a straight line”. It was such an enclosed busy area,” she told ABC.
Witness Maria Kitjapanon told Melbourne’s Age newspaper that the car was rammed by a police car and that about 10 police surrounded the car, with guns drawn, and fired into the car.
“Then they dragged someone out via the passenger side, then all 10 of them sat on top of him,” she said.
Police have said the incident is linked to an earlier stabbing in the south-eastern suburb of Windsor, which left a man in a critical condition.
Following the stabbing, police allege the same man took a woman hostage in his car. The woman managed to escape from the car on the Bolte Bridge earlier on Friday.
Police have said the incident is not terror-related.