Video recorded by a bystander shows the chaotic aftermath of an incident on Flinders Street in Melbourne, Australia, as police took a man into custody after an SUV rammed into pedestrians, injuring at least 14 people. Investigators believe it was a “deliberate act,” but say it is too early to know the motivation.
Another man was also arrested at the scene, Victoria Police say. Neither man has been charged and they are being questioned.
The videos were posted to Twitter by a user named @Lachlanve. You can watch the two videos, which are graphic, below. The first video shows victims on the ground next to the SUV, while police put zip-ties on one of the two men who were arrested.
The second video shows police holding the man down and then smacking him in the face as he appears to be unconscious:
“We believe based on what we have seen that it is a deliberate act,” Commander Russell Barrett said at a press conference. “The motivations are unknown. It’s still early days in the investigation. It’s still too early in the investigation to gain any understanding of motivation.”
When asked if they had ruled out terrorism, Barrett said, “at this stage, it’s early days in the investigation and the motivation is unknown.” Barrett would also not say if any weapons were found in the car nor how fast it was going. He added that several of the victims are in critical condition.
In a statement, police spokeswoman Creina O’Grady said, “The incident occurred when the vehicle struck a number of pedestrians in front of Flinders Street Station just after 4:30 p.m. The driver of the vehicle and a second man have been arrested and are in police custody. A number of people were treated at the scene for a range of injuries and have been transported to hospital.”
Chris Gath told The Age he heard screaming and then saw chaos.
“I heard it first and then I turned around and saw lots of bodies on the floor. I saw a car ploughing into many people and bodies flying everywhere,” he told the newspaper. Gath said he saw about 60 to 100 people crossing the intersection as the car headed toward them. “I was a bit worried about myself so I got lots of people to run with me, and got families out of the way. I didn’t know what was coming or how organised it was called whether it was a bomb… so I just freaked and ran.”
A white Suzuki SUV could be seen.
An officer at the scene told the crowd that it was a possible terrorist incident, according to The Age. But police have not confirmed the motive for the incident.
A reporter posted a video appearing to show someone being taken into custody at the scene:
A witness, who was not named, told the Herald Sun she saw police remove one man from the car and arrest him. The other man was arrested shortly after.
“The other man got out…he seemed to be a little bit dazed and confused,” she said. “Everybody was naturally shocked. One woman was just screaming and screaming…there was one man with a massive head injury. It was so much chaos in such a short period of time.”
A reporter for the Herald Sun said on Twitter that the two men are believed to be related. They are being questioned by police.
Witnesses said the driver accelerated before crashing into the crowd of pedestrians.
“He has gone straight through the red light at pace and it was bang, bang, bang. It was just one after the other. The last bang the car stopped,” 20-year-old witness Lachlan Read told the Herald Sun.”There were bodies on the ground and people running up to them – it was mayhem. It is definitely something you don’t expect to see on Flinders St at 4:45 p.m.”
Jim, a Flinders Street bakery owner, told The Guardian, the driver “seemed to be travelling at about 80-100km down Flinders Street in a westerly direction. The intersection was full of pedestrians and he ploughed through pedestrians. The only thing slowing him down was him hitting pedestrians.There was no braking, there was no slowing down. He went straight through the intersection. So whether it was targeted or whether he’s had heart attack, or was drunk, I don’t know. He probably hit about 15 to 20 pedestrians. The car stopped because of just, I think, the amount of pedestrians that it had hit …. All you could hear was, ‘Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang’.”
Another witness, Sue, who works nearby, told The Age that she heard screams and then saw “people flying everywhere” during the incident.
“We could hear this noise, as we looked left, we saw this white car, it just mowed everybody down,” she said. “People are flying everywhere. We heard thump, thump. People are running everywhere.”
Victoria Police are investigating the incident and have asked witnesses to come forward with photos, videos and statements.
“If members of the public have video or images which might assist police with their investigation into the Flinders Street incident they are encouraged to upload them here,” police said.
Police added in a statement, “Witnesses are requested to attend at the Melbourne West Police Station, 313 Spencer Street, Melbourne or to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.”
A crime scene has been set up and police said it will be in place for some time. A police spokesman said it was a “traumatic” event for witnesses and victims, and said counselors will be available.
You can read more about the incident here: