UPDATE 9:00PM | TWO people are dead, three police officers have been shot and a hostage has been freed following what police are treating as a possible terror-related siege in Melbourne’s southeast.
Police say they were called to reports of explosions and loud bangs heard at a serviced apartment building on Bay Street, in the affluent beachside suburb of Brighton, just after 4pm on Monday.
When they arrived, they found the body of a man who had been shot in the foyer of the building. A short time later, police say a woman called tripled zero to report a hostage situation at the address.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
Heavily armed officers swooped on the area and ushered bystanders to safety in a nearby Coles supermarket while they set up a cordon around the apartment building.
Speaking to reporters at the scene, Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the hostage taker walked out of an apartment and started shooting at police just before 6pm, forcing officers to fire back.
“Whilst police resources were in the vicinity of the serviced apartments, a male has exited one of the serviced apartments and began firing at police members,” Deputy Commissioner Crisp said.
The hostage taker was shot and killed by police and three officers were wounded.
Two of the injured officers were taken to hospital with what police say are non-life-threatening injuries, while the third was treated at the scene.
It’s understood some residents were caught up inside the building and were forced to wait out the terrifying ordeal locked in their rooms.
The area remains locked down and is crawling with heavily armed officers, including counter-terror police.
Video uploaded to social media captured the sounds of the rapid gunfire.
— The Age Video (@theage_video) June 5, 2017
The female hostage, believed to be aged in either her 20s or 30s, was safely rescued and is now assisting police.
In a statement released shortly after the shootout, police said they were investigating whether the incident was related to terrorism.
Deputy Commissioner Crisp said terrorism was “one line of inquiry” and confirmed police were investigating reports that the gunman had made a call to Channel 7 during the siege, claiming the attack was for Islamic State.
“This is for I.S. – This is for Al-Qaeda,” the caller is reported to have told the TV news station.
“I believe a phone call might have been made by some person to Channel 7, that is all part of the investigation at this point in time as to who actually made that phone call,” he said.
“We will certainly be working with Channel 7 in relation to that phone call.”
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) June 5, 2017
According to the Herald Sun, the gunman was known to counter-terrorism police, but Deputy Commissioner Crisp said investigators were still working to officially identify him.
Police are also understood to be investigating whether the gunman and the woman were known to each other.
Victoria Police are addressing media after two people died and three police officers were injured during a siege at a Brighton apartment building.Live updates: http://www.9news.com.au/National/2017/06/05/17/14/Police-block-off-streets-after-explosion-at-Melbourne-apartment-building/?ocid=9newsmfb#9News | http://9News.com.au
Posted by 9 News Melbourne on Monday, June 5, 2017