A bystander dubbed "the trolley man" for taking on an armed terrorist with a shopping cart during the deadly terror attack in Melbourne is homeless with few possessions.

Michael Rogers, 46, attempted to help police officers stop terrorist Hassan Khalif Shire Ali — who had already stabbed one person to death and injured another two — by ramming a shopping trolley into him.

The Sunday Herald Sun tracked down Rogers on a park bench, amid a nationwide bid to find the humble hero, just 24 hours after he risked his life to save others.

The newspaper reported that Rogers is homeless, but wasn't concerned when his phone was smashed during the fight, despite not having the means to replace it.

Advertisement

Rogers was one of two bystanders who stepped in as the killer tried to claim more victims in the city.

Witness footage of the incident uploaded to social media showed Rogers running to one side of the street to get the trolley before pushing it towards Ali who was wielding a knife and lunging at police.

The trolley appeared to startle Ali before the man who pushed it tripped and fell to the ground. The terrorist then ran across the road, followed by police, as Rogers got up and gave chase, pushing his cart towards the attacker a second time.

His actions gained him widespread praise on social media by users who dubbed him "trolley man" and called for him to receive a medal or be made Prime Minister of Australia. Rogers was reportedly unaware of the attention being heaped on him for his actions.

One witness said she spoke to Rogers at the scene and he told her his actions were "just instinctive to help the police protect the safety of others", the Herald Sun reports.

Rogers told 7 News that he believes he did help save lives.

Michael Rogers used a trolley to try to stop the knife-wielding attacker in Melbourne's Bourke St. Photo / News Corp Australia
Michael Rogers used a trolley to try to stop the knife-wielding attacker in Melbourne's Bourke St. Photo / News Corp Australia

"I've seen the trolley to the side so I've picked it up and I ran, threw the trolley straight at him, got him, but didn't get him down," he said.

"I did that motion quite a number of times but it just wasn't getting him down."

Moments later, Ali was shot in the chest by police, before he died in hospital last night.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Somali-born attacker, from Melbourne's northwestern suburbs, had violated the nation's trust.

"The greatest threat of religious extremism in this country is the radical and dangerous ideology of extremist Islam," he said.

Terrorist Hassan Khalif Shire Ali stabbed one person to death and injured another two before being shot by police.
Terrorist Hassan Khalif Shire Ali stabbed one person to death and injured another two before being shot by police.

Morrison said Ali was one of about 400 people on a national ASIO terror watch list.

"Here in Australia we would be kidding ourselves if we did not call out the fact that the greatest threat of religious extremism in this country is the radical and dangerous ideology of extremist Islam," Morrison said.

"There is a special responsibility on religious leaders to protect their religious communities and to ensure dangerous teachings and ideologies do not take root here."

In a press conference on Saturday, Victoria Police confirmed Ali had been known to intelligence agencies for years, but he was not being actively monitored prior to the attack.

They said his passport was cancelled in 2015 after ASIO determined he was planning to travel to Syria.

According to Commissioner Ian McCartney, Ali was "never a target of the JCTT in terms of the investigations we undertook".

A vehicle was set alight in the Bourke St shopping mall area of Melbourne. Photo / Getty Images
A vehicle was set alight in the Bourke St shopping mall area of Melbourne. Photo / Getty Images

"The assessment was made that while he had radicalised views he didn't pose a threat to the national security environment," the commissioner said.

"Obviously, the circumstances of how and when he moved from having these radicalised views to carrying them out will be a key focus of the investigation we undertake."

He said the tragedy had given authorities a "reality check".

"Even with the fall of the caliphate in the conflict zone, the threat continues to be real," he said. "But this is a complex and challenging business."

Officers noted that when a person's passport is cancelled due to being a potential terror risk, there are "ongoing daily, weekly and monthly reviews" in relation to the individual.

But the commissioner repeatedly stressed that when ASIO cancelled Ali's passport in 2015, the attacker "was not a threat at that time".

Officials said the current threat had been mitigated and they do not believe any related individuals — including the attacker's wife, who police have spoken to — pose a terror threat.