Australian police are on the hunt for a man who went on a shooting rampage killing one person and injuring two others during the morning rush hour in Melbourne's commercial centre.
Heavily armed police in body armour sealed off roads and buildings, and conducted air surveillance to search for the gunman on Monday.
They instructed office workers to remain in their buildings but began escorting them back into offices around 10am after recovering a handgun and denim jacket, suspected of belonging to the gunman, in a city construction site.
Witnesses said the man had dragged a woman from a taxi, and started firing a handgun when two men came to her aid.
Ross Murchie said he saw a man holding a screaming girl by the hair while coming out of a building.
"She tried to grab hold of a taxi that was going by and the couple of bystanders went over to ask what was happening," he told ABC. "He let go of her hair, pulled out a gun and shot them all."
The man then fled on foot.
Police said the woman and one of the men who went to assist were rushed to hospital in critical condition with gunshot wounds to their chests, while the third victim died at the scene.
Inspector Glenn Weir told local media a large operation was under way "as we speak to try and apprehend the offender".
"It certainly appears as though there was some verbal confrontation prior to the shooting between the male and the female, so it appears as though there was some relationship between those two people," Weir said.
Australia significantly tightened its gun-control laws after the Port Arthur massacre on April 28, 1996 when 28-year-old Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded 37 in Tasmania in the country's worst shooting incident.
Last Mod: 18 Haziran 2007, 10:43