Three people have been killed and 20 injured when a car slammed into pedestrians in the centre of Australia’s second-largest city Melbourne.

The man deliberately drove his car into people on Friday at the Bourke Street Mall, but the incident was not terrorism-related, Victoria state police’s acting commander Stuart Bateson told reporters.

“I can confirm that we believe this is connected to an earlier stabbing in the southern metro region. We have the offender in custody. There is no further threat to the public at this stage,” said Bateson.

Television footage from the scene showed a damaged red car with the front doors open and the windscreen smashed.

“He wasn’t stopping and people walking were trying to get away and he just kept going and collected people on his way,” one unnamed witness told Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper.

Emergency services treated the incident as a “mass casualty event” and hospitals were put on “Code Red” to accept the injured.

Other pictures showed what appeared to be an upturned baby pram.

Police have locked down the city and suspended tram services after the incident in the heart of the popular shopping area.

Heavily armed officers were deployed on the streets in the heart of the city, which is hosting the Australian Open tennis tournament.

“Emergency services are assisting multiple patients,” Victoria state police said.

 

Source: News agencies