December 2017 Melbourne car attack
|December 2017 Melbourne car attack|
Corner of Flinders Street and Elizabeth Street, where the incident took place, as seen in February 2006
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|19 (including the driver)|
On 21 December 2017, at 4:41 pm AEDT, a driver rammed pedestrians with his car at the corner of Flinders Street and Elizabeth Street in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Nineteen people, including the driver, were injured.
According to witnesses, the driver ran a red light then accelerated into an area with a speed limit of 40 km per hour (25 miles per hour) where he ran into the pedestrians. His car then hit a bollard beside a tram stop. The nineteen injured included nine foreign nationals: three from South Korea, and one each from China, Italy, India, Venezuela, Ireland, and New Zealand. An off-duty officer of the Victorian Police was credited with quickly subduing the suspect who was wrestled to the ground, handcuffed, and arrested.
A second man, filming the incident, was also arrested and found to be carrying a bag containing three knives and a quantity of marijuana. It was subsequently determined that he was not directly involved in the incident.
Victoria Police Commander Russell Barrett stated "At this stage we believe it is a deliberate act."
As a result, nineteen people were taken to a hospital. As of 23 December 2017 three are in a critical condition.
The driver, 32-year-old Saeed Noori, was known to police for a 2010 minor assault matter, and has a history of drug use and mental health issues. In June 2017, he was convicted and fined $1000 for driving without a license, using a mobile phone while driving and failing to answer bail. Noori was apparently still unlicensed at the time of the December incident, and was driving a vehicle that belonged to a relative.
Noori appeared in court on 23 December, charged with 18 counts of attempted murder and one count of reckless conduct endangering life. He was remanded in custody and ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment.
Noori is an Australian citizen of Afghan descent who settled in Australia as a refugee. In an informal interview he made utterances in which he "attributed some of his activities ... to the mistreatment of Muslims". Police said Noori also made comments in relation to Allah and ASIO following his arrest. One of Noori's co-workers at the call centre where they worked said: "There was always talk of his religious beliefs, he was very strong in that. People would say 'I believe in God' and he'd say 'you need to believe in Allah'."  On 22 December the Victorian Police stated that while they had not yet determined Noori's motivations, "we haven't found anything at all to indicate his linkage or involvement with any type of extremism with any terrorism organisation or anything of a terrorist nature".
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that Melbourne has "special challenges", including wide streets, wide footpaths and tramways, which enable a driver to make such an attack. It would be impossible to install bollards in every part of the city.
Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews praised the off-duty police officer who responded first, saying he "instinctively came to the aid of others, in the protection of public order, and potentially, avoiding so much other carnage".
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy called for a review of Victoria's mental health systems as two mental health patients had allegedly carried out vehicular attacks in 2017.
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- January 2017 Melbourne car attack
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- Esveld, Olivia. "Flinders Street Driver Had Previously Been Convicted Of Driving Offences". kiis1011.com.au.
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- Mills, Tammy; Bucci, Nino (23 December 2017). "Accused Flinders Street driver Saeed Noori remanded after appearing in court" – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Westcott, Ben; Morris-Marr, Lucie (December 2017). "Melbourne car attack: Driver had mental health issues, no terror connection". CNN.
- "Melbourne car attack: Flinders St driver spoke of Muslims' 'mistreatment' but had no terror links, police say". ABC. 22 December 2017.
- "Flinders St rampage: Accused rampage driver's Allah, ASIO rants". www.heraldsun.com.au. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
- "Emotional mother of Flinders Street accused lashes out". www.msn.com.
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- Reporters, Staff (22 December 2017). "Melbourne CBD attack: City has 'special challenges' when it comes to stopping such incidents, says Prime Minister" – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Hero off-duty cop who tackled Flinders St driver receiving treatment in hospital". abc.net.au. 22 December 2017.
- Carey, Adam (22 December 2017). "Mental health overhaul needed, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy says" – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
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