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20 Jan, 2017 03:18

4 dead, 20 injured after car rams into pedestrians in Melbourne, Australia

4 dead, 20 injured after car rams into pedestrians in Melbourne, Australia

At least three people have been killed and 20 more injured after a vehicle was driven into a crowd of people in the center of Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne.

READ MORE: Car ‘driving erratically’ before smashing into Melbourne crowd caught on camera (VIDEOS)

Police say the driver deliberately ran people over in Melbourne, adding there’s no reason to believe the incident is linked to an act of terrorism just yet. Authorities said the tragedy is believed to be related to an overnight stabbing.

“Paramedics are treating up to 20 people injured when they were hit by a car in Bourke Street in the CBD [central business district],” Victoria Ambulance said, adding that“some have serious injuries.”

“At this stage it is believed a man driving a vehicle has struck a number of pedestrians in Bourke and Queens St just before 2pm,” police said via Twitter.

The incident happened at about 1:30pm local time near Bourke and Elizabeth streets in Melbourne's city center, emergency services said.

Emergency services are treating the incident as a “mass casualty event,” while hospitals have been put on “Code Red”, according to the Australian. 

In a statement on its website, Victoria Police Department said four people have been confirmed dead, three of them killed on the spot and the fourth having died in hospital. The victims are yet to be formally identified, but police did confirm one of them is a young child. 

The man who was the sole occupant of the vehicle which rammed into the crowd was taken into custody after being chased down by police. The suspected assailant received bullet wounds and is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The area has been cordoned off and is now swarming with emergency services personnel.

The cause of the incident is yet unclear. Police are investigating the circumstances.