Melbourne attack: Man arrested after fire and stabbings

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Police shot the male in the chest and he is now in a critical condition under guard at hospital. Passerby seems to be trying to take him out with a shopping trolley!' one person said.

Unverified video online shows a auto on fire pulled over to the side of the street.

Horrifying mobile phone footage posted on social media showed a man lunging at police officers with a knife as a vehicle was engulfed in flames nearby. We'll keep an open mind as to whether there's any link.

"Three people have been stabbed, unfortunately one of them is deceased at the scene", David Clayton, police superintendent of Victoria state, told reporters. A Reuters witness said that the city centre was closed off by police and that dozens of officers were patrolling.

Police have since confirmed the man was shot in the chest and is in a critical condition.

Police initially responded to reports of a vehicle on fire at the corner of Bourke and Swanston streets.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade said the fire was contained within 10 minutes.

A auto is on fire as police confront the man in Bourke Street, Melbourne, on Friday afternoon.

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"I heard a massive explosion, the auto is completely alight". It sounded like a gunshot.

A witness who gave his name as Markel told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio: "Bystanders were yelling out "just shoot him, just shoot him". "He was face down, face down, and there was a lot of blood", he said.

But some bystanders risked their own lives to help police stop the attacker. "They didn't know what to do because obviously in that situation it is pretty insane".

Police confirm one person has died following Bourke Street Mall attack. "The bomb response unit have cordoned off the area".

Later in the evening, witnesses were being taken to Melbourne West police station in police vans, some looking quite shaken.

Trams along Swanston, Bourke and Elizabeth streets were also stopped.

Premier Daniel Andrews tweeted, urging people to avoid the area and follow the instructions of emergency services personnel.

Police were forced to shoot the man, who continually made stabbing gestures at them, near a burning vehicle.

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