Three police have shot dead a man armed with kitchen knives who went on a two-hour fatal stabbing spree through several Melbourne suburbs.
The 34-year-old Roxburgh Park man was killed at Kew shortly after midnight on Thursday after he had slashed a protective services officer in the face and killed a 30-year-old woman and a 59-year-old man in three separate attacks.
The man had a scant criminal history before the overnight rampage and was not a person of interest to the counter-terrorism command, Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton told reporters on Thursday.
But he revealed the attacker was flagged for mental health issues after attending a police station claiming Islamic State operatives intended to kill him.
“We are short of motivation at this time as to why he has done what he has done,” Ashton told reporters.
Mr Ashton stressed police are eagerly awaiting toxicology results to help discern what the motivation was for the attacks.
Police say the random acts of violence started about 10.40 p.m. on Wednesday.
A protective services officer at Jolimont train station was left with non-life-threatening cuts to his face when a stranger attacked him with a large kitchen knife.
It is believed the officer tried to assist his attacker with directions before being stabbed.
The attacker then ran across the Melbourne Cricket Ground concourse and police are establishing whether he got on a train at Richmond Station or on a tram near Punt Road.
Soon after, two women who are believed to have had a short conversation with the man were found in a car at Hawthorn with life-threatening stab wounds.
A 30-year old woman died and the other, also aged 30, is at The Alfred Hospital fighting for life.
Police were then called to reports of a man stabbed at Kew about 12.15 a.m., another four kilometres away from where the two women were attacked.
The fourth victim, a 59-year-old man died, but he managed to call triple zero and give a description of his attacker.
Police attempted to arrest a man found near the crime scene, but he drew knives and was tasered, before three officers fired their guns.
Police Minister Lisa Neville commended the efforts of the police, saying it is never easy for police to use lethal force.
Large kitchen knives and a switchblade were found near the man after the shooting.
“They were in very close contact with him at that stage,” Ashton said.
Roads closed at Kew and Jolimont Station have since reopened after being closed for most of Thursday morning.