Jewish girl, infant among 5 dead in Australia car rampage

Jewish girl, infant among 5 dead in Australia car rampage

Thalia Hakin, 10, of Beth Rivkah Jewish day school, is killed in ramming; her sister and mother are critically injured

Two days after a man went on a rampage in a car killing five, visitors lay flowers at a floral tribute on Bourke street in Melbourne, January 22, 2017. (AFP/Saeed KHAN)
Two days after a man went on a rampage in a car killing five, visitors lay flowers at a floral tribute on Bourke street in Melbourne, January 22, 2017. (AFP/Saeed KHAN)

A 10-year-old Jewish girl and 3-month-old baby were among the five victims of a deadly car rampage in Australia’s second-largest city on Friday that left four others fighting for their lives and dozens injured.

The infant died in hospital on Saturday evening, Victoria Police said, raising the death toll to five.

The Jewish girl, Thalia Hakin, 10, was killed when Dimitri Gargasoulo, 26, drove a stolen car wildly in circles at a busy intersection in the Central Business District in Melbourne and then plowed the car into pedestrians in a nearby street.

Victoria police say the incident was not a terrorist attack.

Hakin’s mother Naomi, and sister Maggie, 9, were critically injured in the incident. Tony Hakin, father of Thalia, reportedly has remained at the hospital bedsides.

The three others killed were two men aged 25 and 33, and a 32-year-old woman.

Hospitals were treating 37 other people, including four with critical injuries.

Gargasoulo, who was shot by police in the arm, remains in hospital under police guard and has yet to be questioned by investigators.

Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler, the principal of Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah Colleges, told JTA: “Our hearts are broken at the tragic passing of Thalia. Thalia was a well-loved student and friend in the school community. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family at this most difficult time.”

“Our thoughts and tefillos (prayers), are with all the victims, their families and friends,” the rabbi said.

He added that the school was providing support and counseling for the students and the rest of the school community to help them deal with the tragedy.

Thalia and Maggie had attended the IDF Training Gym after-school program run by Avi Yemini.

“We are all devastated by what has happened. If and when her mother and sister leave the hospital it will be to bury their loved one,” Yemini said.

He said the sisters were “two little girls who came to class each week with bright and warm smiles. They were always happy and bubbly and I am heartbroken to know that they have been torn apart in this most senseless and horrific way.”

Yemini has launched an online campaign to raise funds for the family.

Gargasoulo’s mother said she was ashamed of her son’s actions.

“I feel so ashamed and bad, you know,” she told commercial broadcaster Channel Seven Saturday.

“I don’t want to be known that I’m the mother,” she said, adding to her son: “Go to hell and die in hell.”

Investigators said Gargasoulo allegedly stabbed his brother early Friday morning.

Police tried to intercept the car before it entered the city in the afternoon and he was seen driving in circles outside Melbourne’s main train station.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said Friday the driver had a history of family violence as well as mental health and drug-related issues, he added.

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