A man suspected of deliberately killing four people and hospitalising 31 others on Friday (20 January 2017) when he ploughed his car into a group of pedestrians in the central business district (CBD) area of Melbourne, Australia was seen on camera interrupting a live TV news report just hours before the incident.

The suspect, who has yet to be named, can be seen pulling up in his maroon car behind the 9 News presenter in the broadcast footage.

He is then seen smiling, waving his red cap out of the window and saying something indistinguishable in an attempt to attract the attention of the cameraman and presenter, who were reporting on an unrelated stabbing. The man then drives off.

It was just hours later, at around 1.30pm local time, that the same man mounted a pavement near Bourke Street mall, in Melbourne's busy CBD, and deliberately drove his car into a group of pedestrians.

Police have said that four people were killed and many others injured, including a baby who is in a critical condition after the car hit the pram that they were in. A 26-year-old man was taken into custody with non life-threatening injuries after his car was rammed and fired on by police. Officers said the incident had no connection with terrorism.

A spokesman for Victoria Police said: "Police understand the incident is linked to a stabbing that took place in Windsor early this morning [20 January] involving parties known to one another. Following this incident, it is alleged the same man took a woman, who is known to him, hostage in his car. She managed to escape from the car on the Bolte Bridge earlier today."

The incident began when bystanders first noticed the maroon car stopping traffic by driving in circles in front of Flinders Street railway station. CCTV footage from a nearby convenience store then showed several people rushing into the shop as the car mounted the pavement.

"It [the car] hit a few people there outside the offices and convenience store and sent them flying into the air, then kept driving," a witness told the BBC. "It hit some more further up the path. I didn't know what was happening at first. People were screaming and there was a lot of sound and dust. I thought a building was coming down."

Images published by local media showed a badly damaged car with a man in red underwear pinned to the ground by police.