Lunch and shopping was interrupted for scores of Australians on Friday afternoon after a car barreled into a shopping district, according to emergency personnel responding to the chaotic scene.
Three people are dead and as many as 25 people were injured when a man swerved through a busy shopping area in Melbourne early Friday afternoon, with many witnesses and police saying it appeared the man had intentionally driven into the pedestrian area.
Police said the incident does not appear to be terrorism-related, believing it may be linked to a stabbing earlier Friday in Melbourne.
“It’s not been a nice day,” said Tamarah Inglis, a pedestrian who was walking along when the car turned into a and a stampede started toward her. “I think we are all still in shock as to what happened.”
Police said the man was doing burnouts on the corner of nearby Flinders Street and Swanston Street, yelling at pedestrians before driving north on Swanston to . The man erratically sped down Bourke before hopping a curb and driving straight through the sidewalk.
Pedestrians at the mall said they saw people bouncing off the hood of a car as the driver barreled through the .
Onlookers said they heard gunshots — police reportedly were shooting at the car as it sped down the street — before it into a building. The driver, naked except for a pair of red underwear, was arrested by police who swarmed the vehicle when it came to a stop.
“It is very difficult to believe that these sorts of things can happen right in front of you in the middle of our city,” Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said of the tragedy. “Spare a thought particularly for those families — the loved ones of those affected — and let’s try and take care of each other.”