A man with a history of mental health and drug abuse issues drove into a street crowded with pedestrians in Australia’s second-largest city on Friday, killing at least four people, including a child, and injuring around 15 others, police said.
The 26-year-old man responsible for the rampage in Melbourne’s city centre on Friday has been identified as Dimitrious Gargasoulas.
The Melbourne resident was charged with family violence offences last weekend and was out on bail.
On Friday afternoon police shot the 26-year-old in the arm before dragging him out of a car and arresting him after he allegedly drove his car through the CBD killing four people.
A baby is among four people who have been killed after a car ‘deliberately’ ploughed into pedestrians in Melbourne’s city centre during the lunchtime rush.
The maroon vehicle was seen doing burnouts outside Flinders Street Station before driving into crowds of shoppers on busy Bourke Street at about 1.30pm, injuring at least 24 people.
The man identified as Dimitrious Gargasoulas by The Herald Sun, was wearing nothing but red underwear when he was detained at the Elizabeth Street end of the mall. He remains under police guard in St Vincent’s Hospital and is yet to be questioned.
The 26-year-old man responsible for the rampage in Melbourne’s city centre on Friday has been identified as Dimitrious Gargasoulas, 26, (pictured)
Mr Gargasoulas recently posted on his Facebook page: ‘I’LL TAKE YOU ALL OUT … YOU NEED AN ARMY TO TAKE ME’
Mr Gargasoulas recently posted on his Facebook page claiming he was not Greek Tongan but rather: ‘greek islamic kurdish ANGEL OF CULT’ (sic)
Mr Gargasoulas recently posted on his Facebook page claiming he was not Greek Tongan, but rather: ‘greek islamic kurdish ANGEL OF CULT’ (sic).
He also posted: ‘I’LL TAKE YOU ALL OUT … YOU NEED AN ARMY TO TAKE ME’.
On Friday afternoon the mangled wreckage of half a pram remained stuck on the bonnet of the car, while what appeared to be the other half was further up the mall at a pedestrian crossing on William Street. The baby who was inside it is believed to have died at the scene.
‘A male deliberately drove into pedestrians in the Bourke Street mall, and we currently have three deceased and at least 20 injuries,’ police said.
They later updated the number of victims to 24 people. Of those 24, four are children.
One of the four victims to be killed in the massacre is believed to be a 10-year-old Jewish girl with her mother and sister in critical condition in hospital, according to Jewish News.
Officers said the incident is believed to be linked to a stabbing of a man in Windsor, in Melbourne’s south east at 2am on Friday.
The offender was known to police for a string of family violence-related assaults and suffers mental health and drug-related issues, according to the Victorian Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton.
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At least 25 people were injured in the terrifying chaos on Bourke Street on Friday afternoon
Members of the public helped medical staff and police treat a person injured in the terrifying incident in Melbourne
At least 25 people were injured and some were seen being carried into ambulances
A baby is among three people who have been killed after a car ‘deliberately’ ploughed into pedestrians in Melbourne’s city centre during the lunchtime rush
Police have arrested a man wearing nothing but red underwear
‘At this early stage it is believed a man driving a vehicle has struck a number of pedestrians’ police said
Members of the public are seen here receiving medical assistance
Heartbreaking: A pram was left abandoned by the side of the road after being hit by the car
A witness, Renee, said she heard a ‘loud thud’ as three people were hit in front of her eyes.
‘I saw the car on the footpath and I saw the people out of the corner of my eye fly in the air… There were three or four contorted bodies on the ground,’ she said.
‘I could see the people on the footpath that had been run over.’
‘I can confirm that we believe this is connected to an earlier stabbing in the southern metro region,’ police said.
‘We have the offender in custody. There is no further threat to the public at this stage.
‘I can also confirm that this is not a CT-related (counter-terrorism) incident.
‘Earlier in the incident we believe this male did some doughnuts at Flinders Street and Swanston Street, turned left into the Bourke Street mall and deliberately drove into the crowd.’
The 26-year-old offender allegedly stabbed his brother at 2am on Friday morning after reports an argument erupted between the two, according to Nine News.
In a press conference Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said the 26-year-old offender had become known to police following multiple incidents.
A baby has died, and four other children are being treated at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
A three-month-old is currently in the operating theatre.
A two-year-old is in intensive care.
A nine-year-old is being treated for limb injuries.
A 12-year-old is also in hospital.
‘He is not on our books as having any connection with terrorism and we’re not regarding this as a terrorism-related incident. What we do know of the person is there is an extensive family violence history involved,’ Chief Commissioner said.
‘He has come to our attention on many occasions in the past. We have mental health and drug-related issues in the background of this particular person. He has been coming to our attention more recently over recent days in relation to assaults, family violence-related assaults.’
The Commissioner said police had attempted to intercept a vehicle the offender was driving in the morning, but had to abandon the chase.
Pedestrian access has been closed on Bourke Street between William and Swanston Streets.
Police said the situation had been contained, but have requested that people avoid the area.
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The car was seen driving erratically outside Flinders Street Station before heading up Bourke Street Mall and eventually being stopped at Elizabeth Street
The maroon vehicle was seen doing burnouts outside Flinders Street Station
‘People were running out of the way, they were going very very fast’ a witness said
Police were seen guarding the scene as Melbourne CBD was shut down following the tragedy
Terrifying CCTV shows the moment the car speeds along the street near pedestrians
The mangled wreckage of half a pram is stuck on the bonnet of the car, while what appears to be the other half is further up the mall (pictured)
Police were seen on the scene as the investigation into the circumstances of the carnage began on Friday afternoon
People comfort each other after the afternoon’s events in Melbourne
Emergency services in Melbourne are overwhelmed, with paramedics on Code Red meaning anyone available to work must do so.
A number of hospitals are on Code Brown, meaning medical staff are braced for an emergency.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews addressed the media and said he was proud of the way emergency services and Victorians responded to the ‘evil’ criminal act.
‘We are so proud of our emergency services, so proud of Victorians who, in the midst of this, stepped forward to help their fellow citizens and we are all confident that we are bigger and stronger and better than this evil criminal act today,’ he said.
An emotional witness on The Project said
Witnesses described seeing a pram being hit by the rampaging car.
‘The child from the pram was dragged 100m down Bourke St with the car,’ a witness said, adding the child looked around ‘three or four years old’.
Father-of-two Stephen O’Brien, 52, told Daily Mail Australia that he was walking out of Bourke Street Mall with his seven-year-old son when he saw the car ‘travelling uncontrollably’.
‘I heard a lot of screaming first. Then I saw the van accelerate down the mall. The police were chasing him
‘I saw a man carrying out CPR on a guy and then the police moved us on.
‘My wife said she saw the guy get hit. He did a complete somersault in the air and landed on his back.
‘He looked pretty bad. His face was covered in blood. It looked like a civilian was trying to given him CPR. His face was absolutely mangled. Then we saw they had a blanket over him.
‘It’s upsetting for me and my seven-year-old son saw it too. He asked, ‘why did they do it?’.’
Ambulance Victoria confirmed a number of people have been injured
One witness said they performed CPR on a man injured during the carnage
Police said the situation had been contained, but have requested that people avoid the area
Two Asian women stop in the road for bizarre tourist photo after the rampage
Tourists have been seen posing for photographs at the scene where a car fatally ploughed into pedestrians in Melbourne’s city centre.
An image shows two women striking a pose in between police cars as stunned passer-by watch on, metres away from where the horrific rampage killed three people.
An Asian woman in a white shirt, a designer hat and sunglasses was spotted having her photo taken.
Callous tourists have been seen caught posing for cheery photographs at the scene of the rampage
‘People were running out of the way, they were going very very fast,’ another witness, Rebecca Russo, told The Age.
‘I saw him hit a few people. I saw bodies flying into the air.’
Other people said they heard a boom and gunshots, with one man telling Sky News there was ‘a hell of a lot of blood’.
‘There’s someone on the middle of the ground and there’s blood all over the street,’ Rishi Hathiramani, a CBD shopkeeper, told AAP.
‘I’ve seen accidents but never this bad.
‘It’s pretty brutal.’
A number of CBD businesses are in lockdown, while others have been evacuated.
‘A heap of people ran into my store, it was horrible. Half of my staff are in tears,’ a Strandbags manager told AAP.
City office worker William Mulholland said he came out of a laneway and saw a number of bodies lying on the pavement receiving CPR from police and emergency workers.
Witnesses reported seeing the car hit a pram during the rampage
Ambulance Victoria confirmed a number of people have been injured
He said his friend came out of the RACV building on Bourke St and saw a body lying on the pavement in front of him.
‘He said he heard two shots, coming from the direction of King St,’ Mr Mulholland told AAP.
Ambulance Victoria confirmed a number of people have been injured in the chaotic scenes.
‘Paramedics are assessing 20 people after an incident in Bourke Street in the CBD this afternoon,’ they said in a statement.
‘A number of people were struck by a car just before 1.40pm. A number of those have serious injuries.
‘Ambulance Victoria has numerous ambulances and managers at the scene.’
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