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SYDNEY — A man deliberately drove into a street crowded with pedestrians in Australia's second-largest city on Friday, killing at least three people and injuring 20 others, police said.
Officials said the incident had no links to terrorism. A young child was among the fatalities.
"I saw one person fly up almost roof level of the car as they got thrown up against one of the retail stores"
Police said the suspect had a history of family violence and was wanted over a stabbing earlier in the day.
The chaos began in the early afternoon, after a man was seen driving in erratic circles in the middle of a major intersection in downtown Melbourne.
Pursued by police cars, the driver then turned onto a pedestrian-only road, deliberately colliding with people before continuing onto a sidewalk and hitting several others, Victoria state Police Acting Commander Stuart Bateson said.
"We witnessed about half a dozen people that ricocheted off the car one way or another. I saw one person fly up almost roof level of the car as they got thrown up against one of the retail stores," Sharn Baylis, 46, told Reuters. "You could hear the gasping and the screaming from people, then you just started hearing the screams and the crying as it sunk in."
Police eventually rammed the car and shot the 26-year-old driver in the arm, before dragging him from the vehicle and arresting him.
Four children, including a three-month-old baby, were taken to Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital.
The incident comes amid global concern over extremists using vehicles to strike crowds, following truck attacks in Berlin and Nice, France, last year.