September 25, 2014
– Mates of dead terror suspect Numan Haider — who were with him at Hungry Jack’s shortly before his knife attack on two officers — are being investigated by police.
Also in Melbourne’s developing terrorist saga:
It was revealed Haider’s passport was cancelled after authorities discovered he had done an internet search to try to find out when Prime Minister Tony Abbott would visit Melbourne and where he planned to go.
The Age apologised for wrongly identifying an innocent teen — the grandson of a terrorist victim — as Haider.
Victoria Police said it had no evidence of a plot to behead a police officer.
The Herald Sun can reveal Haider was with up to three men when he asked the counter-terrorism officers to meet him at a Hungry Jack’s.
The officers considered several meeting locations raised by Haider, including the fast-food restaurant, before rejecting them — possibly narrowly avoiding a much bloodier trap.
Part of the investigation will now focus on who Haider was with prior to his fatal confrontation with police.
That will involve investigating whether Haider and his associates tried to isolate or ambush the officers somewhere away from the Endeavour Hills police station.
Chief Commissioner Ken Lay confirmed that police were looking into whether Haider had had “face to face’’ discussions with others before the attack.
It is understood police are aware of the identities of those other people.
Police took CCTV footage from Hungry Jack’s. A duty manager said detectives had trawled through vision but were unable to find Haider.
It is believed the counter-terrorism agents had considered meeting the group before agreeing with Haider they would meet outside the Endeavour Hills police station.
Haider had refused to meet inside the building.
There has been wide speculation within the force that Haider had planned to kidnap a police officer before posting a video of a gruesome attack on YouTube.
The Herald Sun learned on Wednesday that law enforcement authorities were looking at other persons of interest in its joint agency investigation of the attack, but was asked not to publish specific information.
“At this point, there is no evidence of an ambush or conspiracy theory,’’ a force spokesman said last night.
An eyewitness to the attack on Tuesday has told the Herald Sun other people had been in the vicinity. One was a person in Islamic attire, though it is not known whether the person was a party to the attack.
Mr Lay confirmed on radio yesterday that detectives were also working on establishing whether any other associates of Haider had been in the vicinity of the attack.
Haider was fatally shot once after stabbing an Australian Federal Police agent numerous times and slashing a Victoria Police officer shortly after 7.30pm on Tuesday.
Authorities have not revealed what was found in Haider’s car by forensic experts, though Victoria Police confirmed that no video equipment had been found inside.
Friends of Haider expressed shock and anger at his death, calling for more information to be released to the public.
A group of four friends told the Herald Sun what had occurred was out of character for Haider. “He was respectful,” one friend said of him.
Another spoke of how Haider had met his girlfriend while the pair were studying at Lyndal Secondary College in Dandenong.
Haider was in year 11 when they began dating and they were together for about two years. His girlfriend had been “devastated” by his death.
The friends also said Haider had been a good student who may have been smart or cheeky in class but who nevertheless did well.
Friends confirmed that he finished year 12 last year.
They said they were concerned that he would be remembered for how he died instead of how he lived. They were also concerned women in Islamic scarfs would now be subjected to racist attacks.
Police were out in force around Dandenong Plaza Thursday afternoon.