by Stephen Drill, Aneeka Simonis, Charis Chang, www.themorningbulletin.com.au
UPDATE: A MAN has been shot by police after setting a car on fire and allegedly stabbing a number of people in Melbourne’s Bourke St.
Police have confirmed they responded to reports of a car on fire near the corner of Swanston St about 4.20pm.
In a statement police said a man was arrested at the scene and has been taken to hospital in critical condition. He is under police guard.
The Age is reporting the man was shot by police.
“A small number of people are being treated for stab wounds,” the statement said.
The exact circumstances are yet to be determined at this stage.
Melbourne resident Meegan May told news.com.au she was on a tram on Bourke St heading into the city when it stopped just before Elizabeth St about a block before the mall. She heard someone start screaming “he’s got a knife”.
She looked through the back window of the tram and noticed a car on fire. There was a man and two police officers trying to calm him down.
“A moment later, I heard a loud bang, to me it sounded like a gunshot,” she said.
EARLIER: A SERIES of explosions have been heard near Bourke Street this afternoon as police lock down the city.
Businesses are currently shut near the incident, with police telling people to stay inside.
Neapoli Cafe in Russell Place has been closed, with staff remaining there and waiting for further instructions from police.
Sam, from the cafe, said: “There was just a lot of bangs. There’s only staff here, police told us to stay.”
Another person nearby said there was four loud explosions heard earlier this afternoon, which may have been linked to a ute nearby.
Some fled the area fearing there may be further explosions.
A bystander in Bourke St said that a car had burst into flames.
“There was a guy stabbed and there was a car explosion in Bourke Street,” he said.
“It was near JB Hi Fi, near the corner of Russell Place.”
The bystander said that other people had run and hid.
“They ran into a cafe and locked themselves in a kitchen,” he said.
A police statement said: “Police are aware of an incident in the vicinity of Bourke Street. Police are asking for members of the public to avoid the area. We will provide information as it comes to hand.”