SUV plows into pedestrians in Australia; two in custody

At least 14 people were injured Thursday when a white SUV plowed into a crowd of pedestrians in Melbourne, Australia. Police said they had two men in custody, including the driver of the vehicle.

Commander Russell Barrett of Victoria Police said they believe it was “a deliberate act,” but police said there was no immediate evidence linking the attack to terrorism.

Acting police chief commissioner Shane Patton said the driver was alone in the vehicle and accelerated along tram tracks near the Flinders Street station, Sky News Australia reported.

The second man arrested had been seen filming the attack and had three knives in his bag — although police believe he had no connection to the attack, the report said.

In this photo from an Australian Broadcasting Corp. video, a white SUV vehicle is stopped after striking pedestrians in Melbourne, Australia, Dec. 21, 2017.  (Associated Press)

Melbourne police confirmed that one of the suspects is Australian of Afghan descent and has a history of drug use and mental health issues.

In this photo made from Australian Broadcasting Corp. video, medical workers offer aid to victims in Melbourne, Australia, Dec. 21, 2017.  (Associated Press)

After the white Suzuki SUV crashed into a bollard, a steel safety post meant to insure pedestrian safety, police wrestled down and cuffed the driver around 4:45 p.m. local time, Sky News said.

Witnesses say the vehicle ran through a red light and sped up outside the Flinders Street train station and sped up as it neared pedestrians.

Onlookers stand behind police tape after Thursday’s attack in Melbourne, Australia, Dec. 21, 2017.  (Reuters)

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

Initial reports said at least 19 people were injured.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sent a tweet calling the incident “shocking” and said his thoughts and prayers were with the victims and those treating them.

Police took to Twitter to ask for any videos or images of the scene that might assist them with their investigation.

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

It also came at a time when terror attacks involving vehicles have been on the rise.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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