Homicide detectives have charged a 26-year-old man with murder after he allegedly drove his car into pedestrians and vehicles in Melbourne’s CBD.
Police said on Saturday night the Melton West man had been charged with one count of murder, three counts of attempted murder, three counts of intentionally causing serious injury and two counts of conduct endangering life.
The man appeared at an after-hours court hearing where he was remanded in custody to reappear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on January 15, 2024.
The charges follow an incident in which emergency services were called to a report of a man driving a white Toyota Aurion that allegedly collided with three pedestrians, a Mazda CX-5 and a Hyundai in Bourke Street and Russell Street about 6.20pm on Friday.
The driver of the Hyundai, a 76-year-old man from Brunswick, died at the scene.
The three pedestrians, the driver and passenger of the Mazda CX-9 all aged in their 20s and 30s, were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Police do not believe this was a terror-related incident.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said on Saturday the car used in the alleged incident was owned by the driver’s mother.
Police believe the car accelerated after allegedly running down the pedestrians about 6.20pm on Friday.
“Obviously this will bring up memories and trauma for all those who were involved in the 2017 incident in Bourke Street and our hearts go out to them,” Mr Patton.
“We will have reassurance patrols out in the city today, making sure the public can feel reassured Melbourne is a tremendously safe city.”
Six people died and 27 were injured when James Gargasoulas ploughed into them after driving into Bourke Street Mall in 2017.
Friday night’s deadly crash is not believed to be connected to any previous Bourke Street incidents.
Bourke Street reopened after tow trucks early on Saturday removed the white Hyundai the 76-year-old victim had been driving and a grey Mazda SUV – believed to be an Uber – from the scene.
Three pedestrians – a 26-year-old man from South Yarra, a 23-year-old woman from China and a 35-year-old woman from Docklands – were taken to hospital.
Two are in a stable condition and the other remains in a serious condition.
Two people travelling in the grey Mazda, aged 30 and 37 and both from Diggers Rest, were taken to hospital with minor injuries.
The streets of Melbourne were packed on Friday evening ahead of Carlton’s AFL elimination final against Sydney at the MCG.
Premier Daniel Andrews expressed gratitude to bystanders who came to the aid of the injured.
“I wanted to, on behalf of all Victorians, thank those police members who very quickly and with great bravery did the most important work in terms of securing the scene and taking the suspect into custody,” Mr Andrews told reporters.
“And finally, can I thank those many, many Victorians who were on the scene and who stayed and extended that hand of friendship and love to support and help the (injured) people.”
He urged witnesses and anyone with dashcam footage to contact police.
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