Two men with terror links have been shot by police after lunging at officers with a knife and a tomahawk in northern Victoria.
Both men, believed to be brothers, were taken to Albury Hospital with serious injuries after the shooting, with one of them later flown to Melbourne. Neither man’s injuries are considered life-threatening.
The dramatic incident occurred after local police attempted to pull over the men near a camping ground at Barnawartha North, close to the Victorie-NSW border, about 3pm on Wednesday.
The men, aged 19 and 30, had recently relocated to Victoria from NSW and counter-terrorism detectives were aware they were in the area.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Clive Rust told reporters that counterterrorism police had travelled to the area for “intelligence gathering” to try to find the two men when they “unexpectedly” saw them at a petrol station.
He said the men drove off and counterterrorism officers called for assistance from uniformed police.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Rust said when the uniformed officers found the men on Old Barnawartha Road near Richardsons Bend camping ground on the Murray River, their police car was rammed.
Mr Rust said the men refused to pull over and rammed the police vehicle, before getting out of the car with the weapons.
“They [police] were attempting to speak to them to assess whether or not they are any risk to community safety, this is just a standard procedure for CT (counter-terrorism) investigators,” he said.
“There was no ongoing CT investigation and there is no threat to the community.”
Detectives are treating the incident as a “violent attack on police members” and not as a terrorist incident, he said.
One of the men charged at officers and was shot. Police then tried to negotiate with the second man “for a number of minutes” and used capsicum spray and a taser on him, but he would not put down his weapon, Mr Rust said. He was then shot after lunging at police with his weapon.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews took to social media to thank the officers for their bravery.
“Following the incident in Barnawartha, I want to thank the brave @VictoriaPolice officers who put themselves in harm’s way every single day to keep Victorians safe. Police have advised there is no ongoing threat to the community,” he posted on Twitter.
Homicide Squad detectives will investigate the shooting along with the Professional Standards Command.