Aussies have raised more than $100,000 for a homeless man who helped police during Friday’s Bourke Street terror attack.
Michael Rogers, affectionately known as ‘Trolley Man’, has received widespread praise after being filmed trying to ram a trolley into Hassan Khalif Shire Ali as he attempted to stab police.
A GoFundMe page was set up for Rogers, after his phone was smashed in his brave efforts. The page was set up by Donna Salzberg, CEO of the Melbourne Homeless Collective, to reward Rogers’s selfless efforts and “help him out”.
“Our hero is humble as can be and had no idea about this fundraiser. He is amazing,” the page read.
“He’s a hero in our eyes and he can do what he feels best with any funds he receives. He risked his own life that day for nothing in return and you can’t put a price on that.”
More than 4,000 people have donated to the online campaign since it was launched on Saturday, more than doubling its $45,000 target. The GoFundMe campaign has attracted $111,410 and will run for another week.
Rogers was in Burke Street on Friday when Somali-born Australian Shire Ali went on a rampage in Melbourne’s Bourke Street, stabbing three people before being shot in the chest by police.
Video footage showed him first driving his ute down Bourke Street, before setting it on fire and attacking police and bystanders with a knife.
The 30-year-old, who was reportedly known to authorities, later died in hospital from his wounds. One of his victims, Melbourne cafe owner Sisto Malaspina, is said to have died at the scene with multiple reports confirming the other two victims, aged 26 and 59, remain in hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Jaw-dropping footage was shared online shortly after the attack, showing a man – now identified as Rogers – repeatedly running at the attacker with a trolley in an apparent attempt to help police. Sure enough, an officer was later seen shaking his hand in thanks when Ali was finally apprehended.
Rogers’ mobile phone, which was one of his few possessions, was smashed in the attack, but he insisted it was a price worth paying for potentially helping to save many lives.
He told 7 News he didn’t think twice about grabbing the nearby trolley to help.
“The opportunity was, the trolley was there and I took it,” he said.
“For those few crucial moments where there was no (police) back-up, I don’t think it was stupid, what I did.”
Shire Ali’s family released a statement on Sunday and insisted he wasn’t a terrorist and that he was instead “crying for help”.
Speaking exclusively to 9 News, family representative Imam Isse Musse explained: “They think that their child had mental problems. They could not believe their ears when they heard that their son committed this act.”
Isse Musse claimed the 30-year-old was “delusional” and that he told his family someone was chasing him with spears. According to the report, Shire Ali had become distant from his family in the lead up to the attack.