SUV plows into holiday crowd in Australia


A driver plowed an SUV into a crowd of pedestrians in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, leaving at least 14 people injured.

The attack occurred at a crowded intersection in Australia’s second-largest city, which was teeming with holiday shoppers.

Two men were taken into custody by police, including the 32-year-old driver of the white Suzuki SUV.

Commander Russell Barrett of the Victoria Police called the vehicle attack “a deliberate act,” although officials have found no immediate evidence linking the incident to terrorism.

Sky News Australia reported that the driver was alone in the vehicle, which he drove along tram tracks near the Flinders Street railway station, according to acting police chief commissioner Shane Patton.

Witnesses said that the driver of the SUV ran a red light and accelerated as he neared pedestrians. He ultimately crashed the vehicle into a steel safety barrier after which approximaetly eight members of the public pulled him from the car before police tackled and restrained him.

Melbourne authorities confirmed that the driver is an Australian citizen of Afghan descent who is known to police following a 2010 minor assault and has a history of drug use and mental health issues.

According to Patton, the driver is on a mental health plan and receiving treatment for mental illness, but was not out on bail or under any corrections order.

A second man, aged 24, was taken into custody after being seen recording the attack. Despite three knives being found in his bag, officials believe he had no direct connection to the incident.

Several of the injured were taken to a hospital and at least two were in critical condition, including a pre-school-aged child who sustained head injuries.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull posted a tweet in which he called the attack “shocking” and said his thoughts and prayers were with the victims and those treating them.

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