He may be homeless and have a long history of drug abuse and revolving door relationship with prison for over two decades, but last Friday saw Michael Rogers emerge a hero on the streets of Melbourne.
Better known as “Trolley Man,” footage has been splashed across all media channels over the weekend showing Rogers ramming his shopping trolley into the terrorist, Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, who ran amok on Bourke Street wielding a knife and killing one man and wounding two others after crashing a car laden with gas canisters.
According to report in the Sydney Morning Herald, when Rogers saw two police officers attempting to corral a man, now known to be Shire Ali, he didn’t hesitate.
He seized a nearby empty trolley and tried to push it into Shire Ali, who was attempting to attack the officers.
“It was spur of the moment,” Rogers told the Herald. Since earning the title "Trolley Man" on Friday, he’s been mobbed by strangers wanting selfies with, hunted by the media and lauded in tributes at the site of the tragedy.
A crowdfunding campaign “Not all heroes wear capes” had raised more than $90,000 by Sunday evening to thank him.
“On November 9 2018 an incredible man named Michael Rogers from Melbourne, now known as ‘Trolleyman’, put his own life at risk to stop a terrorist who was on a rampage,” the website reads. “Mr Rogers bravely shoved a shopping trolley at the terrorist in an attempt to assist police in his capture. We’ve since learned that our hero ‘Trolleyman’ homeless and that his phone was destroyed in the incident. We believe his efforts deserve a reward that can really help him out.”
“I just wanted to help and do something right for the first time in me life,” Rogers told the Herald, demonstrating the idea that whatever you find within your strength to do, do it.
However, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton told ABC Radio Melbourne today that he understood that Mr Rogers had intervened "instinctively", but warned that in general the public should stand back when police are responding to a situation.
"I haven't been at all critical of this fella on the weekend … because people act instinctively, and he's acted instinctively, looking to support the police, deal with that situation and I'm not critical of him on that basis.
"But certainly people need to be cautious when trying to do that sort of thing.
"If the trolley had hit one of the police officers and he'd fallen over and [Shire Ali] was on top of him, it could have been a different outcome."
A report in The Australian this morning has revealed that no evidence has been found that Friday’s Bourke Street attacker Shire Ali was mentally unwell, but has revealed that Shire Ali had communicated online with Australia’s most notorious jihadist.
According to the report, in 2014 he became an online friend of Australian-born Khaled Sharrouf, who travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight with Islamic State and who by then was a convicted terrorist notorious for his head-severing brutality.
Shire Ali described himself online as a wannabe Islamic State terrorist and expressed support for ISIS, and his desire to fight in the Middle East, The Australian reported. “Using the name Hassan Ali Shire, the Melbourne terrorist described himself on Facebook as a “Mujahid in sha Allah (God willing) at Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, even before the terrorist group declared its so-called caliphate.
The profile, along with his photo, appeared on a copy of Sharrouf’s friends list that was archived in June 2014, the report stated.