In the hustle and bustle of the season, with just four days left before Christmas is celebrated around the world, horror has struck once again.
We’re reminded of the evil that is still out there and seeks to destroy all that is good. The victim count is at 19 so far, but could climb within the next few hours and authorities have one in custody as of this moment.
Witnesses are revealing that they saw and it’s getting worse by the second as eyewitness accounts continue to come out.
In an attack that bears some of the hallmarks of terror attacks that have become commonplace in our world over the last few months, a truck deliberately veered into a crowd of people outside a train station during the peak of rush hour traffic.
The as-yet-unnamed suspect has reportedly been taken into custody after being tackled by a heroic off-duty police officer.
Despite his description and descent being used as obvious indicators of his motive, the 32-year-old attacker’s mental health and history of substance abuse have already been brought up knowing that fears of terrorism are sure to surface. Authorities also believe he didn’t attack alone and have just taken a second person into custody.
Police say a man accused of deliberately crashing a car into pedestrians outside Melbourne’s Flinders Street train station, sending 19 people to hospital and creating peak-hour chaos, has a history of assault, drug use and mental health issues.
Police said the driver was a 32-year-old Australian citizen of Afghan descent, and was known to police, but was not on bail at the time of the incident.
Of the 19 admitted to the hospital, 15 are in a stable condition — including a four-year-old boy and the driver — and four are in a critical condition.
Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said the man was arrested by a “heroic” off-duty police officer.
“To step in when you see that trauma, not understanding what the threat is … and take somebody into custody not knowing what he is risking himself — it is heroic,” he said.
But he said there was no evidence to indicate there was a connection with terrorism.
“All you could hear was hits, screams.”
Witnesses say they heard screams and saw bodies “thrown into the air” as a white SUV plowed into pedestrians near Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station.
“We don’t at this time have any evidence or any intelligence to indicate there’s a connection with terrorism,” he said.
However, he said they would continue to work with the Counter-terrorism Command to ensure there was no connection and ongoing threat.
It’s suspected that the driver may have had help in the attack as another man was seen fleeing the scene carrying a bag reportedly filled with knives. Although he too was arrested, according to ABC, police feel certain upon initial questioning that he isn’t directing linked to this driver of the incident. However, the question still remains and needs to be answered as to why a man was carrying around a bag of knives and was leaving the scene of what could be a possible act of terror? He’s still in police custody and is said the be cooperating with authorities.
— Danny Tran (@DANNYTRAN) December 21, 2017
The ABC report explained that this was a deliberate attack based on what’s currently known at this initial point in the investigation:
“We believe based on what we have seen that it is a deliberate act. The motivations are unknown,” Victoria Police Commander Russell Barrett said.
A witness, John, described seeing an SUV traveling “at high speed” and “hitting people” just after 4:30pm. “I saw a car, a SUV coming at high speed and really just heard the collision with people with bags and what must be shopping trolleys — and I hope not prams,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne. “I’ve really never seen anything like this before and I haven’t stopped shaking.”
The injured include a preschool-aged child with a head injury, who was taken to the Royal Children’s Hospital in a serious condition.The owner of a bakery on Flinders Street, identified as Jim, said the intersection was “full of pedestrians” when the car drove through it.
“He came to rest just next to the tram stop — maybe the side of the tram stop stopped him — but the only thing that seemed to be slowing him down was the number of pedestrians he had hit.”All you could hear was just ‘bang bang bang bang bang’.”
Premier Daniel Andrews described the incident as “an act of evil and an act of cowardice.”
“We have seen an horrific act … perpetrated against innocent bystanders,” he said. “But at the same time we have seen in the worst of times extraordinary courage, bravery and that Victorian spirit where people unknown to each other have extended a hand of care and friendship and love.”
Much of Australia is unrecognizable as it now looks like the Middle East. Major cities in the country have been targets for terrorist attacks. Even if today’s mowing down of pedestrians wasn’t driven by terrorism, it’s the mode of operation that’s becoming commonplace and that’s very concerning. This only increased the terror warning to avoid massive open-air gatherings. Despite the fact that this attack didn’t take place on our soil, there’s no stopping it from occurring here. It’s probably not “if” it will happen here, but “when.”