Car Hits Crowd in Melbourne in ‘Deliberate Act,’ No Evidence of Terrorism – Police

Police in Melbourne Australia
Police in Melbourne, Australia respond after a car plouged into pedestrians on a busy street on December 21, 2017. Photo: BBC

A car collided with pedestrians in a busy intersection in Australia’s second-largest city Melbourne on Thursday afternoon in a “deliberate act,” leaving several people in a critical condition, but there is no known link to terrorism, police said.

“We believe based on what we have seen that it is a deliberate act. The motivations are unknown,” Victoria Police Commander Russell Barrett said.

The suspect who drove the vehicle, a 32-year-old Australian man of Afghan descent, was known to police and had a history of drug use and mental health issues, Victoria state Police Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton told reporters.

“At this time we do not have any evidence or intelligence to indicate a connection with terrorism,” Mr. Patton said.

Nineteen people were injured when a white SUV struck the crowd on Flinders street around 4:30 p.m. local time (05:30 GMT). One child with serious head injuries was among those taken to hospital, according to the Victoria Ambulance service.

BBC reported that the city had installed concrete barriers on Flinders Street in the hopes of preventing vehicle attacks after a man drove into pedestrians on Bourke Street last January.

With reporting by AFP.