The brother of the drug user who murdered six people in Melbourne’s Bourke Street rampage has revealed his killer sibling attacked him in a brutal stabbing frenzy just hours before he committed the terrifying massacre.
James Gargasoulas was sentenced to a minimum of 46 years for committing one of the country’s worst-ever mass murders on January 20 in 2017.
His brother Angelo, who said Gargasoulas had displayed sociopathic tendencies and strange behaviour for years, has spoken out for the first time about how he too faced the violent wrath of his older sibling in a candid interview with ABC’s Four Corners.
Angelo said his brother’s behaviour had spiralled out of control in the lead up to the attack and said the police had been alerted to his dangerous behaviour on multiple occasions.
Just hours before Gargasoulas drove his mother’s boyfriend’s car into innocent bystanders, he embarked upon a violent and potentially fatal confrontation with his younger brother.
Gargasoulas had turned up at his mother’s apartment with his new girlfriend in tow around 1am on January 20, only to come face-to-face with Angelo.
On seeing his brother was at the flat, Gargasoulas – who was a marijuana user – began questioning him about a deadly comet he believed was heading towards the Earth.
‘He started asking me questions about how much I knew about the comet that’s coming to hit Earth and how much I knew about the bunkers and where they are and why am I not telling him where they are and if I don’t tell him, we’re all going to die,’ Angelo told the news program.
‘I saw my brother coming and basically just go at it, at me, [with a knife]and I remember losing consciousness, and my head was against the front of the car tyre and the horn was going like crazy,’ he said.
‘I realised my lung has been stabbed and at this point I didn’t realise the knife had gone right through, but my lung was making a blow-off kind of sound.
Angelo said his brother continued to stab him repeatedly and ‘went at’ him like a ‘pineapple’.
But by the time the police were called to the scene Gargasoulas had absconded – leaving Angelo fighting for his life.
Angelo was taken to hospital and later placed in an induced coma while police were left frantically trying to track down Gargasoulas – but to no avail.
Just a few hours later that Gargasoulas screeched into Bourke Street and callously mowed down nearby pedestrians – killing six and injuring 20 more.
The two were raised by their father in Coober Pedy, a tiny in remote South Australia considered the ‘opal capital of the world’.
He said his brother had always been a ‘special’ kid and had been in special education in school.
Angelo said they’d always known there was a ‘bit’ of an ‘intellectual disability’ with his brother.
But Gargasoulas’ behaviour, he said, became progressively worse as he entered adolescence and began using drugs.
Former classmates described Gargasoulas as ‘crazy’, and ‘eccentric’ and revealed he was often bullied in school.
One Coober Pedy resident even claimed Gargasoulas once told him he would have ‘no problem’ killing another person.
At the age of 14, he had reportedly become fed up with being picked on and decided to take action by bringing explosives to class.
‘We’re in school and they’re talking about a bomb being brought in – and it was Jimmy with a whole heap of detonators’, former classmate Martin Grava told the program.
Gargasoulas would quickly descend into a life of drugs and violence and was constantly on the run from police.
He began using ice, which sometimes resulted in drug-induced psychosis which would see him engage in erratic and violent behaviour, even towards his own family members.
A priest recalled one disturbing moment two days before the Bourke Street attack.
Gargasoulas arrived at St Francis Catholic Church in central Melbourne to warn him about the end of the world.
According to Father Graeme Duro, Gargasoulas claimed he had received a message from God telling him the world would end in a month.
Footage obtained by Four Corners showed him taking a stand at the pulpit where he ranted about terrorists.
When the church called the police, Gargasoulas took off, but police did not chase after him since there weren’t any outstanding offences or warrants in his name.
Later that day, Gargasoulas called the police while he was under the influence of drugs, claiming a comet was going to hit earth.
He told police dispatchers he was going to be killed and had ‘no safety’.
He later violently attacked Angelo before he took off in his mother’s boyfriend’s car while police were in pursuit.
He allegedly told his girlfriend, who he had kidnapped, ‘If they catch up to me, I’m going to run down everyone in the city’.
Gargasoulas pleaded not guilty to killing Zachary, Tahlia, Ms Mudie, Mr Kanno, 25, Matthew Si, 33, and Bhavita Patel, 33.
But in November it took a jury less than an hour to unanimously find him guilty of the six murders and 27 counts of reckless conduct endangering life.
An earlier jury found Gargasoulas, who suffers treatment-resistant paranoid schizophrenia, was fit to stand trial.