Four people, including a 10-year-old girl, were killed after a car mounted the pavement in Melbourne’s Bourke Street mall, hitting pedestrians in the busy shopping area.
The Age reports that the four people killed were a man in his 30s, a woman in her 30s, the 10-year-old girl, and a fourth person who is yet to be identified until their family or next of kin is notified.
A three-month-old baby girl is in a critical condition at the Royal Children’s Hospital in the city. There are around another 20 people being treated in hospital.
Police were pursuing the suspect car shortly before the incident. The car was rammed by police and the driver was shot by officers at the scene. He is being treated in hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver has been identified by Melbourne media as James “Jimmy” Gargasoulas, 26. Gargasoulas was accused of stabbing his brother earlier in the day. Police say the suspect has “a history of family violence, as well as mental health and drug problems”.
The incident happened around 1.45pm, local time, on a busy Friday in the heart of Melbourne’s retail district. Some bystanders rushed to help the injured, which prime minister Malcolm Turnbull would later say represented “the very best of our Australian spirit”.
Footage was posted on Twitter appearing to show pedestrians fleeing as the car, on the pavement, skirted shopfronts.
— Solf (@sunprawn) January 20, 2017
Other footage emerged of the car, moments before the fatal moments, driving in circles with its tyres screeching around the intersection of Swanson and Flinders streets outside Melbourne’s busiest train station.
— TEN Eyewitness News (@channeltennews) January 20, 2017
Victorian state police commissioner Graham Ashton confirmed earlier at a media conference that a man and woman in their 30s were among those killed.
“For reasons of family notification, I won’t give you the age of the child at this stage,” he said
“They are at different intersections as this vehicle has made its way up so we don’t believe at this point that either of the two adults or the child are related but certainly they have been killed at various locations as this vehicle has made its way up Bourke Street.”
Ashton said the man was known to police and has an “extensive family violence history”.
“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 said.
Ambulance Victoria said paramedics treated more than 25 people at the scene.
St Vincent’s Hospital said it was caring for three women in their 30s, two men in their 40s and a 31-year-old male. They were all stable with severe injuries.
Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne said four patients have been admitted following the incident.
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull issued a statement offering his thoughts and condolences to all involved.
Here’s what he said:
The prayers and heartfelt sympathies of all Australians are with the victims and the families of the victims of this shocking crime in Melbourne today.
And we thank and acknowledge the heroism, the professionalism of the police and the emergency workers who rushed to the aid of the victims.
Joined by bystanders who mindless of their own danger sought to help those who had been attacked in this shocking crime.
Their love, their selflessness, their courage is the very best of our Australian spirit.
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