On Monday, a Somali-born Muslim gunman laid siege to an apartment complex in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, killing one man, taking a woman hostage, and injuring three police officers in the process. The suspect, Yacqub Khayre, used a shotgun to carry out the siege and later died during a firefight with police.
“Khayre, 29, called a broadcaster during the siege to say he was acting in the name of the Islamic State (IS) group,” reports BBC. “A news outlet for the group claimed it had carried out the attack, but police said there was no evidence of it co-ordinating with Khayre.”
While the female hostage wasn’t harmed, Khayre managed to kill a a Chinese-born Australian man at the apartment complex.
The victim was "in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton.
Born in Somalia only to become an Australian citizen later in life after claiming refugee status, Khayre had been arrested under terrorism-related charges before. Escaping the claws of justice, Khayre hit the jackpot as he was acquitted by a jury for his alleged crimes in 2010.
“The gunman, Yacqub Khayre, 29, was one of two men acquitted by a jury in 2010 of plotting a suicide attack in Sydney,” notes AP. “Three people were convicted of conspiracy for that plot, which police thwarted before it could be executed.
“Khayre, a Somali refugee, served prison sentences for arson and violent crimes unrelated to extremism before being paroled in November,” AP adds, citing Ashton.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull acknowledged that Khayre was freed on a technicality; Turnbull promised to work toward reforming state laws to prevent such miscarriages of justice.
“There have been too many cases of people on parole committing violent offenses of this kind,” Turnbull told reporters, adding that he had plans to convene a meeting with state leaders on Friday to discuss parole reforms.