One person was stabbed to death and two others wounded after they were attacked by a man in the centre of the Australian city of Melbourne on Friday.
A man, who then threatened officers with a knife, was shot by police and died in hospital, Graham Ashton, chief commissioner of police, confirmed. Investigators believe terrorism is a likely motive.
“What we know so far about the individual... from what we know we are treating this as a terrorism incident,” Ashton said.
“We believe we have confirmation on the identity [and] there are ongoing investigations being conducted by counter-terrorism. I am not at liberty to disclose the identity of this person.”
Ashton said the suspect was known to police and federal intelligence authorities.
Ashton also detailed the timeline of the attack, which took place in Melbourne’s busy central business district.
“A four wheel drive, utility, drove into Bourke St between Russell St and Swanston St and parked there. One male person was in the vehicle. A fire was then started in that vehicle,” Ashton said.
“He got out of the vehicle, engaged with some members of the public at that location. Almost within a minute, Victorian Police officers were in attendance in an unmarked vehicle.”
The man assaulted a police officer through the vehicle window, and then produced a knife and attempted to attack police officers. “One of the officers fired his firearm and shot the offender once in the chest,” Ashton said.
Graphic footage of the incident was captured by passersby and shared on social media. In one video clip, circulated on Twitter, a police officer raises his weapon as a suspect repeatedly jabs towards him with a knife.
Seconds later, a shot is heard and the suspect falls to the ground clutching his chest.
Victoria’s ambulance service said that three injured people were being treated at the scene. A witness told Reuters news agency that the city centre was closed off by police and that dozens of officers were patrolling.
Australia has been on heightened alert from 2015 for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East.
The street where the car caught fire was the scene in January 2017 of a fatal but not terror-related incident in which a man drove his car at pedestrians at high speed, killing six people and wounding about 30.
The mayor of Melbourne, Sally Capp, posted a message of support after the attack.
Reuters contributed to this report.