A 15-YEAR-OLD boy has been charged with multiple counts of attempted murder after he allegedly tried mowing down pedestrians with his family’s car in Melbourne’s CBD on the day of the AFL grand final.
The teenager has been charged with two counts of attempted murder and six counts of reckless conduct endangering life following the incident on Saturday morning which brought the CBD to a standstill shortly before 8am.
The boy, who police say has a history of mental illness, was allegedly behind the wheel of a green Toyota Rav 4 that was driven erratically and allegedly at pedestrians outside Flinders Street station.
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Video uploaded to social media shows the vehicle reversing at high speed through the intersection of Swanston and Flinders Streets before the driver applies the brakes and the vehicle spins. See it below.
Witnesses recalled how a homeless man threw a hire bike underneath the vehicle to try and bring it to a stop.
The accused teen driver, who was dressed in black body armour and allegedly armed with a knife and baton, then jumped out of the car wielding the weapons before reaching back into the vehicle to grab a backpack.
Dozens of people called triple zero, believing they were they were about to witness a terrorist attack.
Many terrified onlookers scrambled for safety and hid behind walls fearing for the worst and preparing for an explosion, while others watched on in shock, paralysed by fear.
Mobile phone footage shows the armed boy lunge at police, who can be seen in the vision with their weapons drawn, before he is tasered and tackled to the ground in the middle of the major road.
Several onlookers can be heard in the footage shouting at police to shoot the armed and armour-clad teen.
One officer was shoved to the ground during the tense confrontation.
The dramatic scenes escalated so rapidly, police hadn’t a chance to establish a cordon or close the intersection.
Eyewitness Jason Smith told the ABC the man “looked like a terrorist”.
“We were hiding behind the wall for safety in case there was an explosion and it was really, my heart rate… as soon as I saw him all in black, [it was] just scary as,” Mr Smith said.
Other witnesses claimed the man swerved at pedestrians in a deliberate attempt to run them over.
Jolon Cooke told the ABC he thought the man was trying to kill him. The dramatic scenes escalated so rapidly, police hadn’t a chance to establish a cordon or close the intersection.
“He swerved and tried to run me over,” Mr Cooke said. “He dead set tried to kill me.”
“He came out of the car with a black baton, full head to toe black military gear took a backpack out of the car to simulate a bomb and then he was telling the cops to come for him.”
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Another man told the Herald Sun he watched in shock as the man tried to drive onto the footpath.
“He was trying to get on the footpath and then started trying to hit people,” the man said.
“He tried to run into Fed Square … he was going mad, he was driving up and down on the road.”
Fortunately, no one was injured during the boy’s rampage.
Dismissing initial fears of terrorism, police say they are treating the incident as mental health-related.
Speaking to reports at the scene of the incident on Saturday, Acting Superintendent Wayne Newman said he believed the teen “didn’t pose a great threat”.
“I have no information that he was actually trying to attack pedestrians,” Acting Superintendent Newman said in a press conference shortly after the incident.
“He’s driving was certainly erratic which was concerning the Victoria Police and the community, but there was no intention that I am aware of that he was deliberately trying to hurt anyone.
“I don’t think he posed a great threat.”
The 15-year-old boy from Knoxfield has since been charged with two counts of attempted murder, six counts of reckless conduct endangering life, and assaulting and resisting a police officer.
He has been remanded in custody to appear at a children’s court at a later date.
If you are in immediate danger call 000 now. If you require advice or assistance, the following services can offer counselling and support:
Lifeline 13 11 14 | visit website
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 | visit website
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 | visit website
MensLine Australia 1300 789 978 | visit website