Warning sirens sound for the first time in Melbourne terror attack

For the first time the sirens of war were set off to warn those in the city of imminent danger.

Anti-terror police were called into action but, as usual, it was street cops who led the city’s defence. And, as usual, ordinary citizens showed extraordinary bravery.

The man with the knife in Bourke Street was confirmed by police to be a terrorist less than four hours after the attack. A large utility crashed and burst into flames near the entrance to the Mall, forcing police using the bomb squad to make the area safe.

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A car on fire in Melbourne's Bourke St during Friday's lone wolf terroristr attack.
STUART GOUTA car on fire in Melbourne’s Bourke St during Friday’s lone wolf terroristr attack.

The man stabbed three people, killing one. The body remained on the street, draped with a sheet. It will only be removed after the area is forensically examined.

Surrounded by police, the man with the knife followed and tried to stab them. The uniformed police used their bare arms to protect themselves, backing off to try and give themselves some distance.

An unarmed man, using a shopping trolley for protection, tried to assist the police by trapping the suspect.

One police officer found enough space to draw his gun and fire, apparently hitting the offender in the chest exactly as he is trained. The man with the knife dropped to the ground and is now dead.

The man was shot by police after setting his car on fire and stabbing three people and killing one in Melbourne's CBD.
Robert Cianflone/GETTY IMAGESThe man was shot by police after setting his car on fire and stabbing three people and killing one in Melbourne’s CBD.

Even though there was an armed man and an exploding car, dozens of people stood still and went for their smart phones to record the confrontation.

As usual police will call for the videos as part of their investigations.

A police spokesman originally said there were no obvious links to terrorism but they were keeping “an open mind” and pointed out the investigation is in its infancy.  That changed less than four hours later when police confirmed this was a terror attack. Terror police initially had no solid intelligence of an impending attack.

Investigators will also look at a potential copy-cat motive with the car attack occurring after the second day of the highly publicised Bourke Street Mall multiple murder trial, where James Gargasoulas stands accused over the day his car ploughed into 33 people, killing six.

Friday’s incident happened about 100 metres from the entrance to the Mall, which is now protected by bollards.

And it was one of the reasons the sirens were installed in the first place.

The attacker was confirmed by police to be a terrorist less than four hours after the attack.
Robert Cianflone/GETTY IMAGESThe attacker was confirmed by police to be a terrorist less than four hours after the attack.

A few years ago the city would have been shocked by this unprovoked violence.

Tragically, now it is part of our lives. We know what happened. Why will take more time to discover.

On Friday the terror sirens sounded for the first time. It will not be the last.

Anti-terror police were called into action.
Robert Cianflone/GETTY IMAGESAnti-terror police were called into action.

theage.com.au