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EVIL ACT: Melbourne attacker had mental health, drug issues

ICE-addicted Afghan-Australian Saeed Noori, the man behind yesterday's Flinders St attack, has made utterances to police about 'voices, dreams and poor treatment of Muslims', as CCTV emerges of the horrific incident.

The attacker deliberately mowed down pedestrians in an 'act of evil' on the busy Flinders St at the Elizabeth St intersection about 4.40pm yesterday.

He will be formally interviewed later today.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed this morning that 19 people were admitted to hospital. Of those four were critical but that number has been reduced to three.

One, a man aged in his 80s, remains in a critical condition.

The car can be seen driving along the tram tracks before ploughing through pedestrians during Christmas peak-hour. Pic: 7 news
The car can be seen driving along the tram tracks before ploughing through pedestrians during Christmas peak-hour. Pic: 7 news

EARLIER: THE condition of a preschool aged boy who was seriously injured when a man deliberately mowed 17 pedestrians down in the CBD in an "act of evil" has improved in hospital overnight.

Acting chief commissioner Shane Patton told Sky News the four-year-old boy's condition was improving.

Mr Patton said this morning that police had briefly spoken to the man in hospital.

"He spoke about dreams, he spoke about voices but he also did attribute some of his actions to the poor treatment of Muslims," he said this morning.

He said 12 people remained in hospital and a man in his 80s was critical.

He did not say whether the attack was a 'copycat attack': "We have seen copy cat incident overseas but I am not going to speculate if this is one."

"No one in any city in any country in the world can give a guarantee they can defend against vehicle-borne attacks."

Flinders st and Elizabeth street Melbourne where a man drove a car into people injuring many pedestrians this morning. Picture: Nicole Garmston
Flinders st and Elizabeth street Melbourne where a man drove a car into people injuring many pedestrians this morning. Picture: Nicole Garmston

 

FRIDAY 8 AM UPDATE:

Critical Response Team arrived on scene within 15 seconds.

- Driver spoke about " dreams", "voices" and the "poor treatment of Muslims"

- A four-year-old boy's condition has improved to stable at the Royal Children's Hospital overnight.

- An 83-year-old man remains in a critical condition.

- Police are standing guard at the Flinders and Elizabeth St intersection this morning.

- The number of critical patients has increased from four to five this morning, police minister Lisa Neville told 3AW.

- Flinders St and Elizabeth St reopened at 2am this morning.

- Trains and trams are running as normal.
 


Ice-addicted Afghan-Australian Saeed Noori deliberately mowed pedestrians down at the busy Melbourne CBD intersection about 4.30pm Thursday.

Noori, who was known to police and was on a mental health plan, roared through the Elizabeth St intersection on Flinders St and slammed into innocent shoppers, workers and tourists

After his Suzuki SUV smashed into a tram stop bollard an off-duty cop - hailed on Thursday night as a hero - dragged Noori out of the vehicle.

 

A late model white Suzuki at the scene. Picture: Michael Klein
A late model white Suzuki at the scene. Picture: Michael Klein

 

Victoria Police Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said Noori, 32, had a history of drug abuse.

Sources said he had missed a medical appointment earlier in the day.

"He is still in custody, under arrest for what we allege is a deliberate act," Mr Patton said,

Pedestrians aged four to 83 needed hospital treatment after the horrifying rampage at one of Melbourne's busiest intersections, with four critically injured.

The four-year-old, a boy, suffered a serious head injury but was said to be in a stable condition in the Royal Children's Hospital on Thursday night.

 

A victim is taken away on a stretcher. Picture: Cameron Tandy
A victim is taken away on a stretcher. Picture: Cameron Tandy

 

The off-duty police sergeant suffered an injured shoulder as he fought Noori after the white Suzuki slammed into victims at 4.41pm. The critical incident response team then swarmed the SUV.

One witness said the driver, dressed in blue jeans and a white T-shirt, appeared to be unconscious when he was dragged from the vehicle.

"They (police) were knocking him ... trying to wake him up. He got pulled out from the passenger (side of car).

"He was pulled out of the car with a gun at his chest, like the big one (large gun) ... they dragged him out ... he looked unconscious."

The area was crawling with Christmas shoppers, commuters and people on their way to festive gatherings at the time of the horrific incident.

Police, paramedics and members of the public rushed to help the injured.

"There were bodies everyone and people just trying to help," a woman said.

The injured adults were taken to the Royal Melbourne, The Alfred, and St Vincent's hospitals with four described on Thursday night as critical.

Commander Russell Barrett warned people to stay away from the area in the hours after the attack.

Emergency services treat a number of pedestrians at the scene. Picture: Aaron Francis/The Australian
Emergency services treat a number of pedestrians at the scene. Picture: Aaron Francis/The Australian

 

WARNING: SOME VIDEOS AND PICTURES MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES

 

The car crashed into a bollard. Picture: Cameron Tandy
The car crashed into a bollard. Picture: Cameron Tandy

 

Witnesses were urged to go to the Spencer St police station to give statements.

A second man dressed in a flannelette shirt and blue jeans, who was seen filming the attack on his mobile phone and had knives in his bag was arrested at the scene, but was not believed to be related to Noori.

Australian resident Noori, of Afghan descent, was on Thursday night under armed guard in hospital.

Police said he was known to authorities, with a history of drug use and mental health problems. He was expected to be questioned by detectives on Friday morning.

 

A number of pedestrians are treated on Flinders St. Picture: Aaron Francis
A number of pedestrians are treated on Flinders St. Picture: Aaron Francis

 

PM Malcolm Turnbull tweeted: "As our federal & state police & security agencies work together to secure the scene and investigate this shocking incident our thoughts & prayers are with the victims & the emergency & health workers who are treating them."

Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday: "What happened in Flinders St today was an act of evil. This was an attack on innocent bystanders - people finishing their Christmas shopping, heading home from work, unwinding for the year.

"They did not deserve this. Our city did not deserve this."

 

Flinders_St_650_900_2.jpg
Flinders_St_650_900_2.jpg

As with the Bourke St ­tragedy in January - when Dimitrious Gargasoulas is alleged to have killed six people in Bourke St - passers-by raced to comfort the ­stricken.

Some shaded victims from the sun as others tried to keep them calm during the wait for paramedics to arrive.

A major investigation from specialist arms of Victoria Police was under way on Thursday night. Those who know Noori are expected to be contacted and interviewed as investigators piece together the events leading up to the rampage.

Any mobile phones, computers and electronic devices belonging to Noori will be subjected to the most detailed scrutiny by cyber specialists.

It is understood the Australian Federal Police had been briefed about events and could be asked to provide intelligence holdings.

Spy agency ASIO has also been consulted.

Detectives from the major collision investigation unit are expected to make a painstaking reconstruction, examining CCTV and take statements from the dozens of witnesses in the area.

 

FLINDERS ST ATTACK WON'T STOP US

VICTORIANS are being urged to embrace Melbourne this Christmas and live their lives as normal despite the terror of Thursday's sickly attack.

Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said there was no ongoing threat and police numbers would now be boosted throughout the CBD.

Melbourne is set to hold a number of significant public events over the coming days, including Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve and a Big Bash cricket match on Saturday night.

Paramedics tend to the injured. Picture: Cameron Tandy
Paramedics tend to the injured. Picture: Cameron Tandy

Mr Patton urged Victorians to enjoy their Christmas as normal.

''We ask the public - you should come in, you should continue to come in and enjoy yourselves. Obviously this is a horrific incident and our hearts clearly go out to the whole families involved, to the friends involved and anyone impacted who is at the scene at this time,'' he said.

''But we have to be strong and we have to continue on as a community, we are asking everyone to continue, to come in, go to the carols, go to the cricket, continue to enjoy yourselves, we are providing every level of assurance which we can.''

Premier Daniel Andrews labelled Thursday's attack as evil when Victorians should have been enjoying the festive season.

"I encourage people to go about your business, enjoy what should be and I'm sure will be ... a time for family and friends coming to Christmas Day and indeed the aftermath of that,'' he said.

But there was no such ­motivation when James ­Gargasoulas allegedly roared through Bourke St in January this year, killing six people.

But he said Victorians should be proud of how they helped each other in the aftermath of the horrific attack.

"At a time of year when so many families are celebrating the end of the year, doing Christmas shopping and making plans for what ought to be a festive season, we've seen a horrific act, an evil act, an act of cowardice,'' he said.

"We are all caught up in this.

"Strangers came to the aid of people they had never met before, so did police."

Some shaded victims from the sun as others tried to keep them calm during the wait for paramedics to arrive.

Police were on Thursday night keeping an open mind about what was behind the events on ­Flinders St.

A recent history of attacks in which vehicles have been used to intentionally mow down pedestrians generated speculation of a terror attack.

Police are appealing for any witnesses to attend the Melbourne West Police Station at 313 Spencer Street, Melbourne or contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Police arrest a man after the incident. Picture: Twitter Lachlan V/@LachlanVe
Police arrest a man after the incident. Picture: Twitter Lachlan V/@LachlanVe
Police, firefighters and paramedics treat a number of pedestrians. Picture: Aaron Francis/The Australian
Police, firefighters and paramedics treat a number of pedestrians. Picture: Aaron Francis/The Australian
Police arrest Saeed Noori after the incident. Picture: Channel 7
Police arrest Saeed Noori after the incident. Picture: Channel 7

Topics:  crime editors picks general-seniors-news melbourne attack terrorism

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