The man who killed an innocent apartment clerk and took a woman hostage in the affluent suburb of Brighton, in Melbourne, had arranged to meet with her through an escort agency.
Police have identified the gunman as 29 year old Yacqub Khayre, a man who was known by counter-terror police and had previously faced court on terror charges in Sydney, but had been acquitted.
Here's what we know happened:
- Police were called to the Buckingham Serviced Apartments at around 4pm on Monday, to reports of an explosion.
- On arrival, police discovered the body of an apartment employee - an Australian born Chinese man - in the foyer. Police have not named the victim.
- A woman - apparently an escort - was being held hostage inside an apartment.
- Heavily armed police surrounded the building.
- Hostage-taker, Yacqub Khayre, emerged from the apartment and fired at police. He injured 3 officers - 2 of them needed hospital treatment - before he was shot dead himself.
- The woman escaped unhurt.
Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton says it is “a possibility” anti-terror police were lured to the apartment.
“[But] it’s too early to know how random this was, and whether police were the target,”
“She (the woman) turned up to supply an escort service. When he arrived at the scene, he shot the attendant who was working in the foyer of the apartments… we allege,”
As for the gunman, this is what we've learned:
- Victoria police have named him as 29 year old Yacqub Khayre, from Roxburgh Park.
- Khayre was born in Somalia but came to Australia as a young child with his refugee parents.
- Khayre was acquitted of the 2009 Holsworthy army barracks terror plot
- He had been convicted of other assaults but was reportedly considered low risk
- Islamic State has claimed he is one of their 'soldiers'
Victoria Police are treating the situation as a terrorist incident but, after a raid on his home, say it isn't believed to be part of a wider plot.
Victoria Police boss Graham Ashton said "We are treating it as a terrorism incident. The person has a background in relation to terrorism."
"We are extremely concerned about terrorism.... we are very attuned to the threat of terrorism here in Melbourne" said Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been strong in his response.
"What is clear here is that we face a growing threat from Islamist terrorism in Australia in our region and around the world. We will continue to defy it and we will continue to defeat it."