SYDNEY • An Australian man rammed his four-wheel-drive into a Sydney police car, hijacked a supermarket delivery truck and taxi, rammed other cars and stabbed and wounded a passer-by before killing himself in front of the police yesterday.
The dramatic chain of events, which police said was not terrorrelated, began when police tried to pull over the four-wheel-drive for not displaying licence plates.
The driver rammed the police car, dumped the four-wheel-drive and hijacked a supermarket delivery truck about 7km away, then continued across town for another 20km to a suburb near the airport, hitting several cars along the way.
The driver, 24, tried to steal another car, stabbing a passer-by who tried to stop him, before stealing a taxi. Police finally stopped the attacker in the taxi and tried to use the Taser on him, but the man stabbed himself in the chest and died at the scene.
"The offender wasn't trying to intentionally harm people," Acting Assistant Commissioner Mick Fitzgerald told reporters in Sydney. "It was a man who was attempting to do everything he could to avoid arrest. His actions, in particular the actions when he stabbed the innocent person, are the actions of a person who we believe had mental health problems."
The police did not identify the man, but he was known to the police and did not have a significant criminal history.
Footage circulated on social media showed a man in a beige shirt and cap gesturing for a taxi driver to get out of his car, then getting in and driving the red taxi away.
The Australian Associated Press quoted Mr Chris Burton, who witnessed the first stabbing, as saying that the attacker looked "crazy and frazzled". "He goes to the guy, 'stab me, stab me, stab me' and stuck his neck out."
The passer-by who was stabbed was in a serious but stable condition, the police said. The media reported that a woman was also stabbed in the melee, but the police did not confirm this.