AUSTRALIA — Commuters were left trapped inside a bus with a flaming body after a passenger doused a bus driver with flammable liquid and burned him to death in Brisbane on Friday, police said.
There was no apparent motive for the killing of the 29-year-old man named by local media as Manmeet Alisher.
Alisher, who was a well-known singer in the Indian Punjabi community, was described as a softly spoken, courteous and genuine man.
Police superintendent Jim Keogh told reporters “…it’s a horrific incident here in the quiet suburb of Moorooka. This is a rare one where it appears to be no apparent motive. A bus driver, going about, doing his business, supporting the community, has had his life taken from him in what is a senseless and needless act.”
A 48-year-old suspect was arrested at the bus stop and placed in custody.
Bystanders kicked down the back doors of the municipal bus to rescue passengers, who were “traumatised” by the incident, Keogh said.
“It’s lucky the whole bus didn’t become engulfed in flames,” Keogh said.
Around half-a-dozen passengers were aboard the vehicle and some were treated for smoke inhalation.
Queensland Police commissioner Ian Stewart told reporters that the heroic actions of a taxi driver who saw what was happening helped to save the passengers.
Stewart said there was no evidence of any link to “terrorist type activities” or links to a racial motivation.
“While we don’t know the motivations at this stage, I want to reassure the community that we take these incidents very seriously,” Stewart said, adding counter-terror authorities were initially involved.