A 15-year-old boy wearing a black armoured uniform and allegedly armed with a knife has been Tasered and arrested by police after driving erratically near Melbourne’s Federation Square on AFL grand final day.
Video footage taken by passers-by and posted online shows the green four-wheel drive reversing at speed down Swanston Street in the CBD before spinning 180 degrees.
A member of the public threw a hire bike under the small 4WD to try to stop it, while police rushed to the area.
Officers say they are treating it as a mental health situation and don’t believe there was any terrorist links. Police confirmed the youth as a 15-year-old from Knoxfield.
He remains in police custody.
Witness Nik Stacy Jerkovic, 25, said the teenager was dressed in full riot gear, wearing a motorbike helmet, elbow pads and knee pads and carrying a black rucksack.
“He had an extremely long baton and he was swinging it,” he said.
“He was ready to attack. Anything could’ve happened.”
The teenager got out of the vehicle and was pacing in circles at the corner of Swanston and Flinders streets when police surrounded him shortly before 8am.
He appeared to lunge at one officer, who fell back, before he was Tasered and subdued.
No injuries were reported and the youth was arrested and taken into police custody. He is in hospital being assessed.
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Acting Superintendent Wayne Newman said investigators had no information the teenager was trying to harm anyone.
“It’s to be confirmed, but we believe he has a mental health issue,” he said.
“I don’t think he posed a great threat.”
Acting Supt Newman said the man’s outfit was “concerning” but freely available in any army disposal store.
Mr Jerkovic was waiting near Flinders Street station when he heard the screech of tyres and saw a four-wheel drive heading towards the tram he was about to board.
“It reversed back and some guy then threw a bike underneath it so it couldn’t really go anywhere,” he said.
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He said a young man jumped out of the car and began walking towards him.
Mr Jerkovic said he would have confronted him but was concerned by the full backpack he wore.
“It was definitely a scary situation,” he said.
The Bomb Response Unit searched the 4WD as a precaution and the area was cordoned off with police urging people to avoid the area.
It comes as thousands packed Melbourne for the AFL grand final between Richmond and Adelaide.