A witness has described the moment he rushed to help a victim of the Bourke Street terror attack who was lying in a pool of his own blood.
Markel Villasin, 22, was working at a KFC restaurant near the scene when he heard a ‘commotion’, causing him to run out onto the street.
‘Me and the managers ran out and we saw the car on fire. We took a step closer and there was an old man with blood on him, face down on the floor,’ Mr Villasin told the ABC.
‘Unfortunately, the man passed away, they put a sheet on him. It was crazy because he was alive at my feet as they tried to work on him and then he passed away.’
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Markel Villasin, 22, (pictured) was working at Bourke Street’s KFC restaurant near the scene when he heard a ‘commotion’
Authorities were on the scene in Melbourne attempting to get to the bottom of the attack
A knifeman stabbed a shopper to death on Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall and injured two others. A body was seen lying on the street covered in a white sheet
Mr Villasin said he saw the terrorist Mohamed Khalif holding a knife and swinging it at police officers.
He said he saw the man was breathing but appeared to be ‘bleeding out’, as emergency responders attempted to resuscitate him using CPR.
Despite the desperate attempts to save the man, he later died as a result of his wounds.
The lone wolf attacker also goes by the name of Hassan Shire, the Herald Sun reported.
Officers shot him in the chest after his Holden Rodeo loaded with gas cylinders hit a pedestrian as it mounted the kerb and exploded outside Target near the Swanson Street intersection about 4.20pm on Friday.
Video shot from the scene showed the frenzied attack that carried on for more than a minute, beginning with Khalif charging at two police officers, punching one through a vehicle window and lunging at them with a knife.
ISIS have since claimed the attack as their own, releasing a statement saying ‘the perpetrator of the operation… in Melbourne… was an Islamic State fighter and carried out the operation… to target nationals of the coalition’ fighting IS, Amaq reported, quoting a jihadist security source.
They have previously claimed responsibility for attacks that were later discovered to be unrelated to the organisation.
ISIS have since claimed the attack as their own via the propaganda platform, releasing a statement saying ‘the perpetrator of the operation… in Melbourne… was an Islamic State fighter and carried out the operation… to target nationals of the coalition’ fighting IS, Amaq reported
The 31-year-old and his family were known to counter-terror agencies at a state and national level and were believed to have ties with north African extremist groups.
Khalif’s passport was cancelled several years ago after he was noted as one of 300 potential security risks.
It was also noted police are unable to get in touch with the Khalif’s wife, and believe she is both missing and radicalised.
Authorities may be hoping to utilise the state’s preventative detention laws for the first time since they came into effect, in which police are legally allowed to detain a suspect for up to seven days should they believe the person poses a threat or security risk, Herald Sun reported.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the attack was ‘an evil and terrifying thing that’s happened in our state’.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody touched by this, but we will not be defined by this,’ he said.
Victorian Liberal Party leader Matthew Guy said ‘we must eradicate this sort of thing,’ in a media conference shortly after.
‘Every resource should be going into keeping Victorians safe.’
Video showed a man wielding a knife attempt to stab and slash at two police officers before he was shot and fell to the ground, and also a brave shopper try to hit him with a trolley
The officers then retreated to the other side of the road as the bearded attacker with a shaved head and dressed in a long brown tunic, pursued them as horrified bystanders called on police to shoot him
Khalif chased the officers around a tree as they tried to avoid his blows and convince the man to surrender, and a brave bystander tried to stop the attack by running him down with a shopping trolley.
The officers then retreated to the other side of the road as the bearded attacker with a shaved head and dressed in a long brown tunic, pursued them as horrified bystanders called on police to shoot him.
Khalif again attempted to stab and slash at the officers several times before one policeman unsuccessfully tried to taser him.
His partner then shot the assailant in the chest.
The knifeman clutched his chest and and fell to the ground where he was quickly arrested on the pavement by two plain clothing officers and rushed to hospital under police guard, where he later died on the operating table.
His possible links to known terror plotters and extremist elements of the North African community in Australia are being investigated.
Khalif moved to Australia from Somalia in the 1990s, Victoria Police commissioner Graham Ashton said, and had a record of ‘minor’ offences in relation to ‘cannabis use, theft and driving offences’.
‘He is known to police and is known mainly in respect to relatives he has that are certainly persons of interest.’
Victoria Police commissioner Graham Ashton and Premier Daniel Andrews spoke at a press conference after the attack
‘He is someone that is known to both Victoria police and at a federal level,’ Mr Ashton said.
Mr Ashton was asked about reports from eyewitnesses that Khalif screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ as he chased pedestrians, to which he could not confirm.
‘There is no ongoing threat, but this is an ongoing investigation. It will be handled by the counter terrorism command and Victoria Police.’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also released a statement condemning the actions of the assailant.
‘Australians will never be intimidated by these appalling attacks and we will continue to go about our lives and enjoy the freedoms that the terrorists detest,’ he wrote.
‘I praise the bravery of the police who were on the scene and took action and those who selflessly came to the assistance of the injured and provided comfort to the distressed.’
Opposition leader Bill Shorten also praised the bravery of ‘our extraordinary police officers who acted so swiftly and professionally in Melbourne’s CBD… and the passers-by whose first instinct was to go to the aid of others.’
A man caught a birds eye view of the explosion, recording the car bursting into flames from his bedroom window
Witnesses said the Holden Rodeo hit a pedestrian as it mounted the kerb and burst into flames outside Target near the Swanson Street intersection about 4.20pm on Friday, before the stabbing rampage began
The man was quickly arrested on the pavement by two officers in front of shocked pedestrians who stood back to film it
Victoria Police said officers responded to reports of a car fire before they were confronted by the man.
‘Officers were confronted by a male brandishing a knife and threatening them,’ Superintendent David Clayton said.
Counter Terrorism Command in conjunction with the Homicide Squad will investigate the incident but police do not perceive any ongoing threats at this stage and are not looking for anyone else in relation to the attack.
‘The exact circumstances are yet to be determined at this stage. The area has been cordoned off and the public are urged to avoid the area,’ they said earlier.
Khalif was taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital in a critical condition after he was shot in the chest, where he later died.
One of his victims had a head injury, and another an unknown injury. Witnesses said one of those injured was a security guard who tried to intervene.
One of the victims was identified as Tasmanian man Rodney Patterson, 58.
Mr Patterson and his wife Maree (not pictured) said the couple were ‘caught up in the attack’ before he was stabbed
His wife Maree took to social media to share the harrowing turn of events, detailing how she and her husband were ‘caught up in the attack’ before he was stabbed.
‘Rodney was hurt – good news is he is in a great hospital and doing ok given the circumstances,’ she posted on Facebook.
‘Can’t take calls at the moment but will speak to everyone when I can.
‘Thanks to everyone for their wishes and caring.’
Tasmanian MP Will Hodgman praised Mr Patterson’s ‘brave’ actions.
Rodney Patterson (second from left) was one of three people who were knifed by the Somali-born attacker, who was shot dead by police after crashing a car and setting it on fire
Two victims lie on the ground in pools of blood after being stabbed by the knifeman in the street, as bystanders rush to their aid
One witness said he was ‘terrified’ after seeing a body covered in a white sheet on the footpath