A man carrying a backpack has been arrested right after he was seen behaving erratically outside the premises of Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. The incident caused a mass evacuation, with terrified employees and diners fleeing onto the street.
Police responded to a report and after having the complex evacuated, they arrested a 55-year-old man. However, they refuse to say if the man had made threats and they also did not reveal what was in his backpack.
David Clayton, acting commander of Victoria Police, said that police were called to the casino in response to multiple reports received that a man was acting ‘erratically'.
According to some eyewitnesses, it is believed that at 3:30pm a man on the first floor of the complex was declaring threatening comments regarding the contents of his backpack, which led to his arrest.
Members of the critical incident response team, bomb squad, and special ops group swooped down the area and immediately arrested the suspicious man, who is now in custody.
Apparently, nothing was found inside the backpack, but it is still pending clearance by safety officers.
The man's nationality was being confirmed by police, and security and safety checks were being carried out on his backpack. There were no injuries sustained by the suspect, the public or the police, and the man did not resist when he was arrested.
Clayton said, "It was the way he was acting and behaving ... he complied with the police request when we arrested him. We're asking the public to stay away from the Southbank end of Crown Casino if they can. There has been nothing found in the backpack as yet. It is yet to be cleared."
He continued, "We understand he may have made some statements, but at this stage we won't comment as the investigation is live and ongoing."
Civilians were told to evacuate the Southbank complex this Wednesday afternoon, with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and police on the scene.
The casino patrons were evacuated and employees were told to stay in their ‘allocated area of work' while the casino was placed briefly under lockdown up until police determines that the area is indeed safe.
The casino management sent text messages to their staff, informing them to stay away from level one and the western side of the complex.
Earlier, a woman named Julie told the 3AW radio station that she was at the movie theater when staff suddenly informed her to evacuate the building, "We were at Crown in the movies and the lights came on. There would have to be at least 60 police running in and cop cars everywhere."
A spokeswoman for Victoria Police said the investigation was still ongoing and ‘it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.'
According to Herald Sun, the police would not yet rule out other arrests, and they would not confirm whether Counter Terrorism was involved in the investigation.
A spokesperson for Crown casino said, "An isolated incident occurred at Crown Melbourne involving one patron. The issue was resolved peacefully with the assistance of Victoria Police. As this is now a police matter Crown will not be making any further comments."