The prominent Launceston businessman attacked with a knife after rushing to help on the scene of a terror incident in central Melbourne has spoken from his hospital bed, with family by his side.
Past Launceston Autobarn owner and South Launceston Football Club president Rod Patterson offered his thoughts to the other victims, families and police officers involved.
The statement came as his own selfless action was met with a statewide wave of support.
Mr Patterson and a 28-year-old man survived the attack, though the owner of Melbourne’s iconic Pellegrini Espresso Bar, Sisto Malaspina, was fatally stabbed during the incident and died on Friday.
The attacker, who was known to ASIO, was shot by police and later died in hospital.
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For David Stallard, a long-time friend and owner of Stallards Camera House, it was no surprise Mr Patterson had put a concern for others’ safety ahead of his own by rushing in to see if there was anybody trapped in the burning ute.
“It’s just unbelievable what has happened,” he said.
“But his family is with him, his close friends are with him, and he’ll be back in Tassie as soon as he can I’m sure.”
Felicity Viney, president of the South Launceston Football Club, has worked closely with Mr Patterson in recent years.
“Rod’s been around South Launceston Football Club for its whole 32 year existence. He’s best described as a stalwart really,” Mrs Viney said.
“We probably wouldn’t have a football club without Rod.”
“He’s come and saved South Launceston at various times in those 32 years, and that’s just who he is.”
A statement released Saturday by Mr Patterson and his wife Maree Patterson said he was caught up in the incident while enjoying a day out in Melbourne.
“I went to assist and whilst doing so received a knife wound to my head,” Mr Patterson said, and he was now receiving fantastic care at The Alfred Hospital.
Mr Patterson added: “We both appreciate everyone's support during this difficult time, and our thoughts are also with the other victims, families and police officers involved.”
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