An Australian man allegedly drove an SUV into a central Melbourne street packed with Christmas shoppers on Thursday, injuring 19 people in an act police believe was deliberate but not terror-related, multiple sources report.
The incident occurred outside Flinders Street train station in Melbourne’s central business district just after 4:45 p.m, the Associated Press reported. Witnesses on the scene say the SUV ran a red light and sped up to hit crossing shoppers. More than a dozen people were hit before the car slammed into a traffic barrier by a cable car stop.
Of the 19 admitted to the hospital, 15 were said to be in a stable condition — including a 4-year-old boy, the AP reported. The other four injured are in a critical condition.
Victoria State Police arrested the 32-year-old driver of the vehicle after a struggle at the scene, the BBC reported. He was alone in the vehicle.
A second man, 24, was also arrested after being seen filming the incident, the BBC reported. Though he had a bag of knives with him, police say they don’t suspect he had links to the incident and is assisting police with inquiries.
“We believe based on what we have seen that it is a deliberate act,” Victoria Police Commander Russell Barrett said of the crash, ABC Australia reported. “The motivations are unknown.”
“At this time, we don’t have any evidence or intelligence to indicate a connection with terrorism,” Victoria State acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton added, Reuters reported.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the incident “shocking” in a tweet, adding his thoughts and prayers with the victims and those treating them.
Bill Shorten, the leader of the Australian opposition, also shared his condolences on Twitter while praising emergency services for rushing to the “shocking scenes.”
It’s the second time this year that a car attack has occurred in Melbourne.
In January, six people were killed and more than 30 injured when a man drove a car into pedestrians on Bourke Street — blocks away from Thursday’s incident, ABC Australia reported. Police did not find any connection to terrorism with that case.
In the wake of January’s attack, Melbourne city authorities installed concrete blocks in various locations in hopes to prevent vehicle-based attacks, the BBC reported. Said blocks were installed on Flinders Street.