STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Melbourne attack: Suspect was inspired by ISIS but had no direct contact, police say

A man who stabbed three people after his pickup truck burst into flames in a Melbourne street was known to a...

Posted: Nov 11, 2018 9:18 AM
Updated: Nov 11, 2018 9:18 AM

A man who stabbed three people after his pickup truck burst into flames in a Melbourne street was known to authorities for his radical views but was not considered a threat, Australian police said.

Hassan Khalid Shire Ali, 30, had his passport canceled in 2015 when authorities found he had plans to travel to Syria. He was known to the Victorian Joint Counter Terrorism Team but was not being monitored, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Ian McCarney told reporters Saturday.

Australia

Continents and regions

Melbourne

Oceania

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Law enforcement

Policing and police forces

Cities

Communities and neighborhoods

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Society

Stabbings

Shootings

International relations and national security

National security

Terrorism

Terrorism and counter-terrorism

Terrorist attacks

Unrest, conflicts and war

ISIS

Misc organizations

ISIS had claimed responsibility for the knife attack through its media wing Amaq, the SITE Intelligence Group reported. CNN cannot independently verify the claim and no evidence to support it was provided through Amaq.

On Saturday, McCarney said Shire Ali was only inspired by the group and did not appear to be direct links.

"The event yesterday for us is a reality check. Even with the fall of the caliphate in the conflict zone, the threat continues to be real," McCarney said.

"Obviously in terms of how and where, why and when he moved along that path from radicalization to basically putting in place those actions will be a key focus of the investigations and I dare say other investigations," McCarney added.

Friday's attack, which is being treated as an of act of terrorism, began when the attacker's vehicle burst into flames and the man emerged and "engaged" with members of the public in a busy downtown street, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton told reporters Friday.

The horrifying scene was over in a matter of minutes after police shot the attacker, who died after being rushed to the hospital under police guard.

Only after he was shot did police realize that three members of the public had been stabbed. One man died later in hospital. He was identified by local media Saturday as Sisto Malasspina, the co-owner of a popular Italian restaurant in Melbourne.

Two other men underwent surgery and were in stable condition in hospital, police said Saturday.

"This is an evil and terrifying thing that has happened," Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews said.

The attack

Late Friday, witnesses reported hearing a loud explosion from the vehicle, which burst into flames before a man emerged and began attacking people with a knife in the street, police said.

When police arrived, the man punched one of the officers through their patrol car window, Ashton told reporters. He lunged at them with a knife when they got out of the vehicle. One of the officers shot him in the chest, Ashton said.

After putting out the fire in the car, authorities found what Ashton described as "barbecue-style" bottles of gasoline inside the vehicle, which prompted authorities to call the bomb response unit to the scene.

The investigation is still in its early stages, but Ashton said police do not believe there is a "ongoing threat."

Slain restaurant owner remembered

Sisto Malasspina, the man killed in Friday's attack, was a well-known restaurateur, Australia's national broadcaster ABC reported.

The 74-year-old man was remembered on social media by politicians, comedians and celebrities who described him as a great man.

Actor Russell Crowe said he knew Malasspina for more than three decades and considered him a friend.

"Sisto, il mio cuore si spezza (my heart breaks) ... I've been going to Pellegrini's since 1987. Never been to Melbourne without dropping in on my man Sisto," Crowe tweeted. "South Sydney stickers on the wall and caps on display. My sweet loyal friend, stabbed in the street by a mad man. Cosí triste (so sad)."

Victoria Police said they could not currently identify the deceased victim yet but that they would not dispute media reports.

'He has a knife'

Streets were closed, trams halted and nearby buildings evacuated as police rushed to the scene, which was crowded with shoppers and commuters late on Friday afternoon local time.

"It's the center of Melbourne, where a lot of the transportation changes over ... it's probably the busiest part of Melbourne and late on a Friday," said Meegan May who witnessed part incident from a nearby tram.

"It's basically a commuter hub and a central shopping district as well."

May said she was taking the tram into the city center when she heard someone shout "he has a knife." She then turned around to see a vehicle on fire.

A handful of videos and images uploaded to social media appear to show the man attempting to stab police before he is shot. "There was a massive flame and bang, just smoke and lots of people," witness Shelley Reid told CNN affiliate Nine News.

Police have asked members of the public to send images and video of the incident in order to help with their investigation.

Melbourne also would have likely had more tourists in town because of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, one of the city's most popular social events that draws visitors from around the country. Though the main race was Tuesday, there are events scheduled until Saturday.

The Friday incident took place blocks away from Flinders Street Railway Station, where a driver plowed into pedestrians last year, injuring 18.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 9294

Reported Deaths: 209
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah230169
Marion156447
Washington144620
Clackamas77324
Umatilla6204
Union3471
Lincoln3272
Deschutes1920
Lane1803
Linn1549
Polk14912
Malheur1401
Jackson1310
Yamhill1318
Jefferson1260
Klamath1231
Hood River880
Benton835
Wasco751
Morrow721
Clatsop490
Douglas440
Coos410
Josephine411
Columbia310
Lake190
Tillamook120
Crook110
Wallowa100
Curry70
Baker40
Grant10
Harney10
Sherman10
Gilliam00
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 246550

Reported Deaths: 6265
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1077923457
Riverside18720465
San Diego15207377
Orange15065354
San Bernardino13152265
Imperial6824100
Alameda6384138
Fresno562677
Kern493977
Santa Clara4750159
Tulare4521133
San Joaquin429855
San Francisco371950
Sacramento355969
San Mateo3376108
Contra Costa332678
Santa Barbara326129
Ventura324047
Kings258332
Marin244619
Stanislaus239144
Monterey174815
Solano147625
Sonoma12299
Merced120811
Placer75411
San Luis Obispo6752
Yolo58324
Madera5665
Santa Cruz4103
Napa3444
San Benito2572
Lassen2340
Butte2063
El Dorado2060
Sutter2063
Humboldt1384
Shasta1354
Nevada1231
Glenn1220
Yuba1031
Tehama881
Lake850
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Calaveras530
Del Norte511
Tuolumne430
Mono411
Inyo321
Siskiyou310
Mariposa271
Amador260
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 65°
Brookings
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 52°
Crater Lake
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 61°
Grants Pass
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 63°
Klamath Falls
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 61°
Beautiful 4th of July Weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events