Friday 24 November 2017

Four dead after crazed driver mows down pedestrians

The wreckage of a car is seen as police cordoned off Bourke Street Mall, after a car hit pedestrians in central Melbourne. Photo: Edgar Su/Reuters
The wreckage of a car is seen as police cordoned off Bourke Street Mall, after a car hit pedestrians in central Melbourne. Photo: Edgar Su/Reuters

Jonathan Pearlman

Four people were killed - and more than 30 injured - when a car driven by a crazed 26-year-old "deliberately" rammed through pedestrians in the centre of Melbourne, causing mayhem in one of the city's best-known shopping strips.

The rampage occurred yesterday in the Bourke Street Mall - a pedestrian-only thoroughfare - and brought Australia's second largest city to a standstill.

Witnesses gave graphic accounts of chaotic scenes as the driver deliberately ran people over and sent terrified pedestrians scurrying for safety as he continued through the mall and then drove along the footpath of a busy street.

"He just was driving, he didn't stop for anyone," Mohammed Minhaz, a bystander, said on ABC News. "The people were flying."

Another said: "There was no hesitation… he was just collecting people as he was going along."

Police chased the car and eventually shot and arrested the driver, Dimitrious Gargasoulas, who had allegedly stabbed his brother at their mother's apartment early yesterday morning.

Mr Gargasoulas had a history of family violence and mental health and drug problems and was known to police.

He had been released on bail days earlier after being charged with violence towards his family. Police said the incident was not related to terrorism.

Before he started his murderous rampage, Mr Gargasoulas was seen spinning the car in circles around the city centre.

Driving a maroon sedan which he allegedly stole from a neighbour, he was filmed yelling and sticking his head out of the window as he drove in circles outside nearby Federation Square, a popular cultural and dining area.

A witness who saw him driving earlier in the day told the 'Herald Sun' that he was screaming: "Armageddon is coming. The end of the world's going to come today. Watch the news."

Following the carnage, police closed much of the city centre. The four killed included a 10-year-old girl, a man in his 30s and a woman in her 30s. Six people were in hospital with life-threatening injuries, including a three-month-old baby girl, and at least 27 others were receiving treatment.

"We were just standing on Bourke Street and we heard a bit of a crash coming from the Mall," Rebecca Russo, a bystander, said.

"People were running out of the way, they were going very, very fast. I saw him hit a few people. I saw bodies flying into the air." (© Daily Telegraph London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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