Donations flow in for Melbourne attack’s ‘Trolley Man’

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FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians walk past a box of flowers that were placed at the site a day after where a man killed one person in what authorities said was a terrorist attack, near the Bourke Street mall in central Melbourne, Australia, November 10, 2018. REUTERS/Melanie Burton

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A homeless man who used a shopping trolley to fend off a knife-wielding attacker as he stabbed at police in Melbourne has been unexpectedly rewarded by grateful citizens who had donated more than A$50,000 ($36,000) yesterday to help him.

Michael Rogers, nicknamed “Trolley Man” on social media, repeatedly tried to ram the attacker, Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, who was lunging at police and had earlier stabbed three people, one fatally, in last Friday’s attack.

His actions were filmed by witnesses, and local media and a charity tracked him down afterwards to get his story.

“I have seen the trolley to the side, so I’ve picked it up and I ran and threw the trolley straight at him. Got him but didn’t get him down,” Mr Rogers told Channel Seven.

“And I did that motion about – quite a number of times, but it just wasn’t getting him down,” he said.

Mr Rogers’ bravery was made even more remarkable as he was meters away from a vehicle containing gas cylinders that Mr Shire Ali had set alight. He quickly became a hero on social media as people praised his selfless act. Donna Stolzenberg, the founder of registered charity Melbourne Homeless Collective, started a fundraising page on GoFundMe to help the homeless man.

“As a person he just deserves it,” she told Reuters by telephone from Melbourne.

By yesterday evening it had raised more than A$52,000, exceeding its original goal of A$45,000.

Ms Stolzenberg said Mr Rogers was going to need a lot of support including with financial literacy and in making sure nobody takes advantage of him.

Ms Stolzenberg said her organisation would also help him to find housing and organise trauma support for him to process the extraordinary events of Friday afternoon.

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