Monday, 26 August 2019

Melbourne siege: Police shoot gunman dead, free hostage

MELBOURNE: A possible terror incident has left two men dead and three police officers and a woman hostage injured in a Melbourne apartment building.

Police shot the gunman dead after discovering the body of another man in the foyer in the serviced apartment in Brighton, 11km south-east of Melbourne’s central business district.

The Seven Network is reporting the gunman called the organisation saying “This is for I.S [Islamic State]. This is for al-Qaida.”

Victoria police said it was investigating whether the incident was “terrorism related”.

Channel Seven reporter Paul Dowsley reported that his newsroom was called by a man claiming to be linked to the incident.

“My colleague could hear a woman screaming in the background,” he said.

Police arrived at the Buckingham Serviced Apartments in Bay Street at about 4pm after receiving reports of an explosion. “It’s believed he has a woman inside with him who he won’t allow to leave,” a police spokeswoman said at the time. The police attempted to negotiate with a man in one of the apartments.

Brighton resident Gemma was on the corner of Hillcrest Ave and Bay St when she heard gunshots.

By 6pm, police had shot the gunman dead after he emerged from one of the apartments and opened fire on police. Police also discovered the body of another man in the foyer of the building.

Andrew Crisp, Victoria’s deputy police commissioner, said police had not yet identified either of the dead men. The woman was injured, but her injuries are believed to be non-critical.

“We don’t know who rang Channel 7. At this point we haven’t confirmed the identity and terrorism is one line of inquiry.”

Crisp said: “We will certainly be working with Channel 7 in relation to that phone calls.”

A major investigation was under way and Crisp called for patience on Monday evening. Terrorism was one possible avenue being pursued as one line of enquiry, he said, but stressed it was “early days” and that a number of lines of inquiry were being investigated.

Police did not communicate with the man during the situation, he said. Police were working to verify his identity.

“Just before 6pm whilst police resources were in the vicinity of the serviced apartments a male has existed one of the services apartments and began firing at police members,” he said.

“Police members returned fire and as a result the man who exited the serviced apartments was fatally shot. As a result of the gunfire three police members were injured.”

Two were taken to hospital and one was treated at the scene.

The hostage is believed to be in her 20s.

While the initial reports were of an explosion, Crisp said it was likely the explosion was likely to have been gun fire.

Victoria’s premier Daniel Andrews praised the work of officers and the Victorian police, who “sacrifice so much to keep us safe”.

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