Police have apprehended a man they say deliberately drove into a crowd of pedestrians in one of Australia’s largest cities, killing three people and injuring at least 20.
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“There is no further danger to the public,” Victoria Police Acting Commander Stuart Bateson said in a statement on Friday. “We do not believe this is ‘counter-terror’ related.”
The man drove a vehicle through "a number of pedestrians" on Bourke Street Mall in downtown Melbourne at just before 2 p.m. Friday local time, the Victoria Police Department said on Twitter. The exact circumstances surrounding the incident have yet to be determined, but police believe that it may be connected to an earlier stabbing.
Update: At this stage it is believed a man driving a vehicle has struck a number of pedestrians in Bourke and Queens St just before 2pm.— Victoria Police (@VictoriaPolice) January 20, 2017
Bateson said a man was seen driving in circles in downtown Melbourne before he turned onto Bourke Street Mall, a pedestrian-only road, and then continued onto a sidewalk, according to The Associated Press.
Victoria Police can confirm today's Melbourne CBD incident is not a terrorist incident. To clarify, the term CT stands for Counter Terrorism— Victoria Police (@VictoriaPolice) January 20, 2017
Footage shot by a helicopter showed authorities standing near the area where the incident occurred, The AP reported.
Officers could be seen standing over a man lying on the sidewalk with his hands apparently handcuffed behind his back, according to The AP. Police could also be seen examining the car apparently involved in the incident, The AP reported.
The Australian Open tennis championship, which is currently being held in the city, was not affected, police said.
Update: Pedestrian access has been closed on Bourke Street between William and Swanston Streets.— Victoria Police (@VictoriaPolice) January 20, 2017
Our prayers and deepest sympathy are with the victims & their families, of this vicious criminal attack in Bourke St Melbourne today.— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) January 20, 2017
The area has been closed off amid the ongoing investigation.