A heroic homeless man has been praised right across the world after he rammed a shopping trolley into a terrorist in a brave effort to help police bring him down during the Melbourne attack.
And now Michael Rogers has broken his silence in an exclusive chat with 7 News, recalling the horrific moment Hassan Khalif Shire Ali stabbed three people, killing one.
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 captured.
Speaking to the news outlet on camera, Rogers, 46, reenacted what he did at the time, saying: “I’ve seen the trolley at the side and so I picked it up and ran.”
He added: “I threw the trolley straight at him, and I got him. I didn’t quite get him down, though. I did that motion quite a number of times but it just wasn’t getting him down.”
Rogers’ phone was smashed in his brave efforts, but he insisted it was a price worth paying for potentially helping to save many lives.
A GoFundMe page has since been set up by CEO and founder of Melbourne Homeless Collective, to help raise money for him.
While the officer on the scene shared his gratitude with Rogers following the attack, police have since warned the public to be wary of taking on attackers like that in future – as it could prove a huge danger.
Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said they’d spoken to Rogers, but wanted to warn others against taking similar action.
“Look, you just have to be a bit careful about – in that situation how close you do get – because he could have been injured himself,” he told Weekend Today.
“But certainly he was acting in the spur of the moment and looking to support the police. There was a number of people that did that and we are always grateful when the community are supporting our police members.”
Rogers has since been affectionately nicknamed ‘trolley man’ online as support floods in from across the world. One person wrote on Twitter: “Trolley man is everything great about Australia. He’s not running away. He’s helping in a crisis, and he’s doing it in a ridiculous but effective way. #bourkest.”
Another added: “I feel safe in my city knowing that somewhere out there – Trolley Man is watching over us. #Melbourne,” and one wrote: “Trolley Man is the hero we need right now.”
It comes after Somali-born Australian Ali went on the 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 and setting it on fire before 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 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.
According to the Herald Sun, IS confirmed Khalif was one of their fighters, despite the group’s Amaq website providing no evidence of the claim.
“The one who executed the ramming and stabbing operation in Melbourne… is one of the fighter of the Islamic State and he executed the operation in response to ( a call) to target the citizens of the coalition,” the publication reported Amaq said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has since responded with a powerful video message slamming “religious extremism”.
“I am the first to protect religious freedom in this country, but it also means I must be the first to call out religious extremism,” he said.
“Religious extremism takes many forms around the world, and no religion is immune from it … But here in Australia, we would be kidding ourselves if we did not call out the fact that the greatest threat of religious extremism … is the radical and dangerous ideology of extremist Islam.”