A memorial has been set up outside the Bourke St Mall to honour the victims of the deadly car rampage in Melbourne’s CBD, as police still await permission to interview and charge the driver.
Five people were killed in the horrific incident at lunchtime on Friday, when Dimitrious Gargasoulas allegedly sped down a footpath on busy Bourke St crashing into pedestrians.
Among those killed were Jess Mudie, 22, Matthew Si, 33, a three-month-old baby and 10-year-old Thalia Hakin, whose life was celebrated at a community memorial and prayer service on Sunday night.
More than 1000 people gathered at Werdiger Family Hall in St Kilda East to pay tribute to the young victim, including Thalia’s Beth Rivkah Ladies College classmates.
Her mother Natalie and sister Maggie, 9, were also struck down in the rampage. Maggie is reportedly recovering while Natalie remains in a critical condition in intensive care.
“Words cannot convey the sorrow we feel for all the victims and their families, and especially for the loss of Thalia and the devastation of her family,” Jewish Community Council president Jennifer Huppert said on Sunday.
Rabbi Daniel Rabin, who is a member of the rabbinical council for Thalia’s school, led the memorial.
“In order to remember beautiful little Thalia, we have to add acts of kindness to our lives,” Rabbi Rabin said at the service.
“As a community we stick together and we support each other in times of difficulty.”
Earlier on Sunday, Rabbi Rabin posted on Facebook saying the school community was shocked by the “horrific tragedy”.
“We mourn the loss of our dear student and community member Thalia Hakin, as well as the others who lost their lives,” he wrote.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hakin family.”
Martial arts teacher Avi Yemini started a crowdfunding page for the family, which has so far seen 450 people donate more than $33,300.
“[I saw] two little girls who came to class each week with bright and warm smiles,” Mr Yemini wrote on the page. “They were always happy and bubbly and I am heartbroken to know that they have been torn apart in this most senseless and horrific way.”
Caulfield MP David Southwick said in a Facebook post the death of a community member “really hits home”.
“I can understand the anger and sadness that everyone is feeling right now and we owe it to Thaila and other victims to fix the law and order problems we have in Victoria.”
‘We mourn with you, we love you’
Australia’s political leaders gathered at the scene of the tragedy to mourn with Melburnians on Sunday, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying all Australians are grieving for those who lost their lives.
“We’re with you, we mourn with you, we stand with you, we love you,” Mr Turnbull said.
He said the government had set up the Bourke Street Fund with an initial $100,000 donation to help victims’ families. Also pledging to make a personal donation on behalf of himself and his wife Lucy.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten laid a wreath at the makeshift memorial earlier in the day.
Members of the community have been invited to donate, which will be overseen by an independent panel and used to provide financial support to the immediate families of the deceased.
A vigil is planned to be held at Federation Square on Monday night.
Police still waiting to charge suspect
The accused is yet to be charged or interviewed by police as he remains under police guard in hospital, where he is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
He was arrested after police shot him in the arm and blocked his way on Friday.
Police hoped to charge the 26-year-old on the weekend after he underwent surgery, but The New Daily understands charges are not expected to be laid until Monday as they await medical clearance.
“It’s still our intention as soon as we can get that clearance to interview him and charge him and seek to remand him in custody to a future date,” Chief Commissioner Ashton said.
“That still hasn’t happened because of his medical condition, we did have some hopes around this afternoon, but I’m still getting some advice that it might not be this afternoon.”