Money pours in for trolley hero
A BYSTANDER dubbed "the trolley man" for taking on an armed terrorist with a shopping cart during the deadly terror attack in Melbourne says he is "no hero" as his story comes to light.
Michael Rogers, 46, attempted to help police officers stop Hassan Khalif Shire Ali during Friday's Bourke Street terror attack. One person had already been stabbed to death and another two were injured.
Mr Rogers, who is homeless with few possessions, began ramming a shopping trolley into the terrorist in a bid to help.
"I threw the trolley straight at him, and I got him. I didn't quite get him down, though. I'm no hero," Mr Rogers told Seven News' Robert Ovadia from the scene of the attack.
Mr Ovadia later told the program, "people think he deserves some sort of award for being a hero. He doesn't see himself necessarily as a hero but believes he did help save lives and defend his city as well."
A GoFundMe has since been set up for Mr Rogers, raising more than $45,000 in less than a day.
The fundraiser was created by Melbourne Homeless Collective, a registered charity that supports people experiencing homelessness.
"All funds donated to this campaign will go directly to Mr Rogers to help get him back on his feet," the page reads.
"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."
The charity had originally set a goal of $5000 but has since said it will no longer set a target due to the overwhelming amount of support.
"We're absolutely blown away by everyone's generosity and spirit in helping our hero 'Trolleyman' get back on his feet," the charity said.
"We don't actually have a set target to reach but due to the incredible generosity we've seen so far we'll keep increasing the total accordingly.
"We've far surpassed our original goal. Let's aim for the sky. Our hero absolutely deserves it."
The Sunday Herald Sun tracked down Mr Rogers on a park bench, amid a nationwide bid to find the humble hero, just 24 hours after he risked his life to save others.
The newspaper reported that Mr Rogers is homeless, but wasn't concerned when his phone was smashed during the fight, despite not having the means to replace it.
Mr Rogers was one of two bystanders who stepped in as the killer tried to claim more victims in the city. Witness footage of the incident uploaded to social media showed Mr Rogers running to one side of the street to get the trolley before pushing it towards Ali who was wielding a knife and lunging at police.
The trolley appeared to startle Ali before the man who pushed it tripped and fell to the ground. The terrorist then ran across the road, followed by police, as Mr Rogers got up and gave chase, pushing his cart towards the attacker a second time.
His actions gained him widespread praise on social media by users who dubbed him "trolley man" and called for him to receive a medal or be made Prime Minister of Australia. Mr Rogers was reportedly unaware of the attention being heaped on him for his actions.
One witness said she spoke to Mr Rogers at the scene and he told her his actions were "just instinctive to help the police protect the safety of others", the Herald Sun reports.
Mr Rogers told 7 News that he believes he did help save lives.
"I've seen the trolley to the side so I've picked it up and I ran, threw the trolley straight at him, got him, but didn't get him down," he said.
"I did that motion quite a number of times but it just wasn't getting him down."
Moments later, Ali was shot in the chest by police, before he died in hospital last night.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Somali-born attacker, from Melbourne's northwestern suburbs, had violated the nation's trust.
"The greatest threat of religious extremism in this country is the radical and dangerous ideology of extremist Islam," he said.
Mr Morrison said Ali was one of about 400 people on a national ASIO terror watch list.
"Here in Australia we would be kidding ourselves if we did not call out the fact that the greatest threat of religious extremism in this country is the radical and dangerous ideology of extremist Islam," Mr Morrison said.
"There is a special responsibility on religious leaders to protect their religious communities and to ensure dangerous teachings and ideologies do not take root here."
In a press conference on Saturday, Victoria Police confirmed Ali had been known to intelligence agencies for years, but he was not being actively monitored prior to the attack.
They said his passport was cancelled in 2015 after ASIO determined he was planning to travel to Syria.