Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir said there was “zero evidence” to suggest the attacks were terrorism related. Ibrahim had no criminal history and was estranged from the mother of his child.
“There’s nothing to indicate at this early stage that this is anything other than a random act of senseless violence,” Mr Weir said.
Police revealed Ibrahim spoke to them in 2018 about his concerns that IS operatives from Mildura were out to kill him. He wasn’t taken in for an assessment at the time but was flagged on the police system as potentially having a mental health issue.
Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said police talk to many people over the counter every day and there was no concern the attacker was presenting “any kind of terror threat” when he spoke to officers in 2018.
Police are now searching Ibrahim’s home, computer and phone, and talking to his family and friends to ascertain a motive. They are also gathering CCTV to trace his movements prior to the attacks.
Ibrahim was noticed by two PSOs at Jolimont station after making a loud noise at the end of the platform. They had a short conversation and the officers offered to help him with directions before he stabbed one of them with a kitchen knife. The PSO was due to have surgery on Thursday.
Ibrahim ran off through Yarra Park and police are trying to establish whether he boarded a train at Richmond train station, or got on a tram near Punt Road to reach Hawthorn.
Shortly after, two women were arriving at their Hawthorn home on Coppin Grove when the man approached them. He spoke briefly to the pair before attacking them with a knife. One woman, 30, died at the scene.
The other woman, 31, screamed, alerting neighbours who called police, but Ibrahim had already fled.
Soon after, Ibrahim approached a 59-year-old man walking along Cotham Road in Kew.
Similar to his two earlier attacks, Ibrahim struck up a brief conversation with the 59-year-old man before stabbing him.
The victim staggered to a tram stop where he dialled triple zero, which Mr Ashton described as a “very brave act”.
“He made the call because obviously he is worried about the community more than himself. He is worried about what else this guy is going to do,” he said. “I think it’s a tremendously brave act.”
The 59-year-old man died in hospital.
Critical Incident Response Team officers found Ibrahim walking on nearby Walpole Street a short time later and used a Taser to try to subdue him, before three of the elite officers shot him on Walton Street.
“He was called on to surrender by police and refused to do so,” Mr Weir said. “The ball was in his court. He’s made the decision and our members have acted accordingly, in my view.
Georgia Sassi, 21, was about to fall asleep when she heard aggressive shouting.
“It got heated very quickly … then I heard a police officer say ‘put your hands up’, then three loud gunshots,” she said. “It was so scary.”
Two men, believed to have witnessed part of the attack on Coppin Grove, returned to the crime scene late on Thursday morning and were comforted on the street by police.
Mr Ashton said Victoria Police’s Counter-Terrorism Command had combed through their intel and had not found any links to terrorism.
“In fact, we are short of motivation at this time as to why he has done what he’s done and committed such very serious offending against the community.”
Police are awaiting toxicology reports to determine whether Ibrahim was drug-affected.
How it unfolded
11pm: A 34-year-old man armed with two kitchen knives and a switchblade is approached by two Protective Services Officers at Jolimont station. They ask the man if he needs help with directions and he slashes one of them on the cheek and arm.
After 11pm: Man runs across the concourse of the MCG and makes his way to Hawthorn.
12pm: Two women arrive home at Coppin Grove, Hawthorn, when the man approaches them. He speaks to them briefly before stabbing them. One woman, 30, died at the scene. The other woman, 31, is taken to The Alfred hospital. The offender flees towards Kew.
12.15pm: A 59-year-old man out walking is stabbed by the offender near Cotham Road and Queen Street in Kew. He calls triple zero before he is rushed to hospital, where he dies.
After 12.15pm: Offender is shot dead by three members of the Critical Incident Response Team at Walton Street in Kew after he lunges at them with a knife.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.
Paul is a reporter for The Age.
Erin covers crime for The Age. Most recently she was a police reporter at the Geelong Advertiser.
Simone is a crime reporter for The Age. Most recently she covered breaking news for The Age, and before that for The Australian in Melbourne.