The Melbourne siege gunman was meeting a sex worker at the serviced apartments, Victoria Police have confirmed.
Addressing media this morning, Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton confirmed that the gunman, identified as 29-year-old Yacqub Khayrehad made a booking via an escort agency, and requested to meet the woman at the serviced apartments in Brighton.
Upon his arrival, he shot an employee of the serviced apartments dead, whom Ashton described as “very tragically being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
He then made a phone call to Channel 7 claiming the siege was “for IS” and “for al-Qaeda” – which Ashton confirmed is why police are investigating possible terror links – and held the woman against her will in the ground floor apartment. She remains significantly traumatised, but was physically uninjured.
The suspect was shot dead by police around 6pm last night. Ashton confirmed he was an Australian national who had come to this country as a refugee from Somalia as a small child. He’d served “significant” jail time for non terror-related crimes, and was out on bail when the incident occurred.
His prison time had been extended for “terrible behaviour” as an inmate, Ashton said, yet he was appearing to comply with all the terms of his parole.
“He’s been complaint with the terms of his parole including drug tests, attending appointments, and meeting curfew,” said Ashton, adding that initial investigations didn’t reveal anything to suggest he was about to commit these crimes. “As with all of these matters we’ll look into each and every claim.”
Ashton absolutely downplayed any possible terror links, despite screaming headlines from the Herald Sun and the Daily Mail calling the gunman “THE FACE OF TERROR” and asking “WHY WAS HE ALLOWED IN?”.
— damon johnston (@damonheraldsun) June 5, 2017
“Well look, we’re aware of [ISIS] having claimed responsibility, but then they always tend to jump up and claim responsibility whenever something happens,” he said, later adding that the suspect was acquitted of terror-related incident in NSW in 2009.
When questions about a possible connection to the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London, he said there was nothing to suggest that.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews repeatedly commended the bravery and professionalism of the special operatives who were involved in the operation last night.
“What is beyond question is the professionalism, the bravery, the courage and the effectiveness of the specialist police force,” he said.
Three officers were shot during the siege last night. Two were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries while a third was treated at the scene.
Photo: Victoria Police / Facebook.