A young man armed with a knife was yelling “religious statements” when he went went on a rampage in the Sydney CBD.
Police say it has been reported he was yelling "Allahu Akbar".
Witness Zak Barry said he saw the man fall down on York Street "and as he’s falling he dropped a kitchen knife".
Paul O'Shaughnessy, 37, said brother Luke, 30, saw a man with a balaclava wielding a knife.
The pair chased the man and then managed to get a grip on him with the help of a third person.
“He’s got blood all over him... shouting religious statements,” Mr O'Shaughnessy told reporters, describing the man as Caucasian with curly hair.
Some observed online the man’s pronunciation of ‘Allahu Akbar’ was incorrect, prompting the suggestion he was not a native speaker.
“He's shouting "Allahu akbar"... in a very broken way, like someone who has never said it before or heard it pronounced,” an Arabic-speaking journalist observed.
“He's mispronouncing it badly the first time and separates the words (the pause is incorrect, you'll never hear it like that, and the intonations are wrong) which suggests to me he's recently read it or heard it for the first time.”
Video posted on Twitter shows the man yelled at police, "f***ing shoot me in the f***ing head", before he was wrestled to the ground by bystanders and a milk crate was placed over his head.
Supt Wood said it appeared Tuesday's attack was unprovoked and the man had acted alone.
Sources say police are investigating if the man in question is a patient who’d recently escaped from a mental health facility.— Laura Jayes (@ljayes) August 13, 2019
He confirmed it had been reported to him the man had yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’, but it had not been captured as part of the “evidentiary base”.
It would however form part of the investigation.
Sources have told Sky News police were investigating if the man had recently escaped from a mental health facility.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.