Bourke St survivor: ’He tried to kill me’
One of the two survivors of the Bourke St attack has spoken about the moment the terrorist plunged a knife into his neck, moments after crashing his car and setting it on fire.
Shadi had been working as a security guard in the Melbourne CBD for a month before last Friday's shocking incident, which resulted in the death of beloved local restaurateur Sisto Malaspina.
Shadi, who asked his last name not be released, said he initially thought there had been a traffic accident when he saw Hassan Khalif Shire Ali's vehicle engulfed in flames.
"I thought there were innocent people in the vehicle," the 26-year-old said. "I went to try to go to assist. I didn't know what was going on. There was a loud explosion."
Bystanders began screaming and running from the scene, having seen Ali brandishing a knife. The next few moments happened quickly and were a blur until Shadi watched back footage of himself being attacked.
"Out of nowhere I got attacked from the guy that was running around with a knife stabbing people," Shadi said. "Out of nowhere, I didn't even have time to react, he straight away stabbed me. He tried to kill me. He hit me in the neck."
He described the sensation as "like a punch inside my body" and counts himself lucky that he's alive, believing that Ali was determined to kill him.
Despite his serious injury, which was gushing blood, Shadi said he was determined to prevent anyone else from being stabbed.
"The attacker was on the loose, he was stabbing people for no reason, no cause whatsoever, don't know what was wrong with him.
"My main concern was to make sure he does not attack anymore civilians, innocent people, to save their lives pretty much."
But Ali turned on him again with the knife. Shadi said he managed to ward off one blow, but was struck in the shoulder and neck with the knife as he turned to flee.
"I tried to fend the attacker off. I couldn't defend myself though - there was too much blood. I couldn't physically see out of the left side of my eye.
"I knew I had to get out of there. If I stayed there … different story."
Shadi used his jacket to try to slow the flow of blood from his deep neck wound and was then assisted by a police officer.
"The police officer, I don't know his name, but he was there with me holding my neck until we got to the Royal Melbourne," he said.
"I'd like to thank him for assisting me. He held me all the way from Bourke St. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, thank you very much."
Shadi said he had been pushing himself to achieve his dream of becoming a policeman for a while, having admired officers since he was a child.
"What happened on Friday makes me more want to protect and serve the public."
The Hampton Park man has spent the past several days recovering in hospital surrounded by his family and his girlfriend.
Shadi's loved ones were shocked to receive his call late on Friday afternoon to say that he had been caught up in the attack, he said.
"I'm glad I was able to even let them know.
"Mum went crazy over the phone, started crying - like a typical mother would do when her son gets caught."
He thanked the public for their overwhelming support and police for their quick-thinking actions in response to the attack.
"No one deserves to get hurt in our city."