THE man who set himself alight and drove his burning car at the Merrylands police station has no “known links” with terror or radical groups but his motive for the “deliberate” attack still isn’t clear.
The man, aged in his 60s, suffered serious burns and was taken to hospital after “brave” officers managed to pull him from the flaming vehicle.
Staff from the Merrylands station saw him pull up in the carpark outside about 7pm. When they went to speak to him the car erupted in flames and the driver rammed into the roller doors that lead to the underground carpark.
Assistant Commissioner Denis Clifford said the man was taken to hospital with “very serious burns”. He hasn’t been formally identified and Mr Clifford said police were keeping an “open mind” as to his motive.
“Initial inquiries suggest there are no links to any groups,” he said.
Despite no known links to terror groups or any known radical views that would all “form part of our inquiry”.
“We’re trying to work through all of that.”
Police are expected to speak at a media conference later on Friday morning.
The man was known to police and had mental health issues.
Mr Clifford said an accelerant was used to start the fire but tests would be needed to determine if gas or petrol was used.
The Daily Telegraph reported the car was filled with gas bottles that didn’t explode.
“The officers were very, very brave. They have approached the vehicle, I understand the vehicle still had an amount of accelerant, fuel perhaps, in the vehicle,” Mr Clifford said.
“They’ve approached there to try and save this person’s life so they’ve been very heroic in what they’ve done.
“It is a miracle that no one else was injured.”
He asked anyone who saw the incident and hadn’t yet made a statement to come forward, especially if they had mobile phone footage.
One senior officer said it was clearly a “deliberate attack” aimed at injuring police.
After the fire was extinguished the Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit arrived as did NSW Police Tactical Operation Unit Officers and the Dog Squad.
Officers examined the vehicle before it was removed for forensic testing.
Police set up a large exclusion zone, stretching 200m, away from the station.
Witness Andy Toksaz told the Daily Telegraph: “They ran from inside and were all looking down the drive way. The car had gone right through the metal roller door. They told everyone to run in case there was a bomb.”
He said it appeared all the car doors were stuck as officers frantically worked to get the man out.
Last year officers at Merrylands were threatened in a letter that also promised violence to Jews and non-Muslims.
The letter contained IS propaganda and images of severed heads.
Other separate threats have included the station being “shot up” and one teenager was charged after allegedly making posts about Merrylands police where he hoped officers at the station would “burn in hell”.