12:00 PM | AN armed man wearing a helmet and dressed in a black combat suit has been tasered by police in the centre of Melbourne after he was allegedly seen wielding a weapon and driving erratically through the CBD.
Police were flooded with a barrage of triple zero calls from members of the public around 8am on Saturday after a A green Toyota Rav 4 allegedly started tearing through Federation Square “doing skids and burnouts”.
A Good Samaritan reportedly threw a bike underneath the front of the vehicle in an effort to bring it to a stop.
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The driver, a man aged in his early 20s, then jumped out of the car allegedly and walking into the middle of the intersection of Swanston and Flinders Streets, outside Flinders Street Station.
Terrifying footage has emerged online, purportedly showing the “agitated” man dressed in an all black “army disposal type uniform” walking around in circles wielding a baton.
— isaac (@isaacbeath) September 29, 2017
Eyewitness Jason Smith told the ABC the man was “all in black with a black helmet and a black backpack, [he] 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.
“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.”
Mr Cooke was in Federation Square, setting up equipment for today’s AFL grand final, when the drama unfolded.
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.”
However, Acting Superintendent Wayne Newman said the man “didn’t pose a great threat”.
“We believe he certainly was armed with an implement, but I have no information that he was actually trying to attack pedestrians,” Acting Superintendent Newman said.
“We have got no information that he was trying to harm anyone.
“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.”
— Andrea Hamblin (@AndieHamblin) September 29, 2017
Acting Superintendent Newman said the young man is believed to have a history of mental health issues and said there was no information to suggest he had links to terror.
“At the moment we are treating the incident purely as mental health and that is why we believe [the man] has done what he has done.”
Acting Superintendent Newman said immediately after receiving the first triple zero call, senior police began monitoring the situation on CCTV.
The Victoria Police Critical Incident Response team was quick to respond and confronted the armed man in the street a short time later.
Video of the dramatic scenes uploaded to YouTube shows the man lunging at police on the road before he is tasered.
He is then arrested before being taken to hospital where police say he is being assessed for mental health issues.
The Bomb Response Unit was also called in to search the man’s car as a precaution.
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