Bourke Street Horror: Two Dead, Two Injured In 'Evil' Melbourne Terror Attack
A knife-wielding attacker who stabbed a man to death and injured two others in a terrorist incident on a Central Melbourne street was known to federal authorities and police.
What you need to know
- Three people were stabbed and one of those victims has died
- Attacker died in hospital after being shot by police
- 'BBQ' style gas bottles found in burning car at the scene
- The attack is being treated as a terrorism incident, police say
Hassan Khalif Shire Ali was shot by police as he lunged at officers following the deadly attack at Bourke Street on Friday afternoon, bringing the busy shopping area to a standstill.
The 30-year-old, who lived in Melbourne's north-west and was originally from Somalia, later died in Royal Hospital.
Two others are recovering in hospital after suffering stab wounds in the attack.
Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton confirmed on Friday night the Counter-Terrorism unit is investigating, later revealing Shire Ali had been a person of interest to them and federal intelligence authority ASIO.
Footage from the scene showed a man swinging a knife at two uniformed officers near a burning car before he was shot.
"The scene, what we know so far about the individual who we shot, police shot and has died at hospital, from what we know of that individual, we are treating this as a terrorism incident," Ashton told media on Friday night.
Police responded within one minute, he said.
The attacker moved from Somalia to Australia in the 1990's, and was known to authorities, Ashton said. Police are not looking for anyone else in relation to the events.
Witnesses said the attacker stabbed the victim, believed to be aged in his 60s, in the face.
"Because he was on his stomach, they turned him over to see if he's alright, he was still alive," nearby KFC worker Markel Villasin told AAP.
"He was breathing and he was bleeding out."
"They were around him trying to take the knife out of his hand -- I'm pretty sure it was a kitchen knife," he said.
"I don't know what the police were doing, for a good two to three minutes they were trying to grab him, tackle him down when a lot of people were screaming... 'just f***ing shoot him, shoot him'."
Premier Daniel Andrews condemned the attack and thanked police for their response.
"They've done each and every one of us proud," he said.
"This is an evil terrifying thing that's happened in our city and state today. We condemn it."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also issued a statement condemning the attack he described as "evil and cowardly."
Morrison also praised police for their bravery and members of the public who "selflessly" came to their aid.
"Australians will never be intimidated by these appalling attacks and we will continue to go about our lives and enjoy the freedoms that the terrorists detest," he said.
Police initially responded to reports of a vehicle on fire at the corner of Bourke and Swanston streets. The dual cab Rodeo ute was quickly extinguished, with reports soon following of a knife attack.
It was brought under control within about five minutes, a Metropolitan Fire Brigade spokeswoman said.
Witness Fiona told 3AW her friends had seen someone with a knife in the area and she'd been told "he'd stabbed a security guard".
Images from the scene showed a large white sheet covering a section of the road near what appeared to be blood.
Members of the public were urged to avoid the area with several streets placed in lockdown.
A police cordon is expected to remain on Bourke Street until 8am on Saturday.
Meanwhile, police are reassessing major public events over the weekend in light of the terror attack.
Ashton said Stakes Day, soccer matches at AAMI Park and Remembrance Day will be attended by more police than originally planned.
Police are urging any witnesses to attend Melbourne West police station to provide a statement, while anyone with vision or photographs from the incident is being urged to upload footage to the Victoria Police Facebook site.
Featured Image: ABC/Twitter