Bourke St massacre audio: ‘We need to take him out’
Police chasing Dimitrious Gargasolous could be heard panicking that he would run down and kill people as he raced into Melbourne CBD, moments before the Bourke St attack that left six people dead.
"Someone needs to take this vehicle out before he kills someone - get an opportunity," an officer is heard saying on recordings played to an inquest into the massacre.
The harrowing six minutes played to the inquest records the moment Gargasolous began to kill and wound innocent people going about their daily lives.
"Multiple victims, multiple victims we need as many units as possible to take him out," an officer says.
A police operator then asks for an update.
They were told he had been shot and was in custody and the focus was now on "the victims" that were "all the way up Collins St".
The horror of the January 20, 2017, carnage was heard on the police radio played during the first day of the inquest into the rampage.
"This car is a danger to pedestrians and is in the middle of Flinders and Swanston doing donuts," one officer warns.
Moments later another is heard saying: "Someone needs to take this vehicle out before it kills someone ... get an opportunity."
Police add the driver was armed with a knife, having just stabbed his brother, and very dangerous.
There were three police cars following him at the time, the recordings reveal.
Gargasoulas was tailed by police for hours before driving a stolen car through the CBD and mowing down dozens of pedestrians.
He was eventually shot and tasered after his car came to a halt.
Police transmissions detail attempts to catch the man they described as being in "maniacal psychotic state" and threatening to kill people.
During that time, he sped and drove erratically and evaded police.
He texted an officer who was trying to negotiate a peaceful arrest that he was "the saviour" and would not surrender.
Melinda Tan, the wife of Bourke St victim Matthew Si, told the inquest police "were never in control" of the deadly situation.
"The offender played them and he won," Ms Tan said.
She slammed the actions of police on the day, and the bail justice who six days earlier allowed Gargasoulas free.
"How can the collective force fail to stop one person in (a) car?" she said.
Ms Tan said the bail decision led to the tragic events on Bourke St.
"This negligence allowed him to carry out this murderous rampage," she said.
Gargasoulas will not be named at the inquest and will be referred to as " the offender" by counsel assisting and the relatives of the victims.
Counsel assisting the coroner, Stephen O'Meara QC, said the police pursuit policy at the time would be examined during the inquest.
"This inquest will attempt to distill from this tragedy lessons that may save lives in future," he said.
The coroner says she is astounded more people weren't killed.
"The number of people affected by the actions of the offender is vast," Jacqui Hawkins said.
Ms Hawkins paid tribute to the victims.
"I acknowledge all those affected by the tragedy and their enduring physical and psychological pain," she said.
"One by one these lives were extinguished. These six individuals were going about their day in peace. The murderous actions of the offender ended their lives.
"The events were surreal.
"It's a day that's forever etched in our minds."
The victims included three-month-old Zachary Bryant and 10-year-old Thalia Hakin along with Jess Mudie, 22, Yosuke Kanno, 25, Mr Si, 33, and Bhavita Patel, 33.
Ms Hawkins said it was her duty to give these victims a voice and ensure lessons were learned from the circumstances of their deaths.
Family members of the victims are expected to address the court later today.
Gargasoulas' release from custody during an out-of-sessions bail hearing, six days before the massacre, is being probed during the hearings.
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Gargasoulas, who suffers paranoid schizophrenia, was jailed in February for at least 46 years for what was described by the sentencing judge as one of Australia's worst examples of mass murder.
At least 46 witnesses will be examined during the inquest, which is expected to run until December 20, but may be extended to February.