Three stabbed, one dead, in Melbourne; terror not suspected

Mr Hair said two civilians became involved as well as two police, trying to stop the man from his attack.

Victoria Police said officers "initially responded to a report of a auto on fire" in the city centre at around 4:20pm local time, as people began to leave work for the weekend.

The man described as an eyewitness as "Muslim" went on a stabbing rampage after ramming his auto through pedestrians which later "exploded" in Bourke Street, Melbourne in the evening rush hour.

Police shot and subdued the knife-wielding assailant, who later died in the hospital, Graham Ashton, the chief commissioner confirmed. However, police said they are unsure how the fire began. "A fire was then started in that vehicle", Ashton said.

Addressing the media, Superintendent David Clayton said that the man who attacked the people was shot in the chest and he is now critically injured.

According to the ABC, witnesses saw the man crash the auto, get out and throw an object into the vehicle that set it alight.

A handful of videos and images uploaded to social media appear to show the man attempting to stab police before he is shot.

Two other people have been injured amid reports of a shooting and stabbing in Bourke Street this afternoon.

One eyewitness, who gave her name as Meegan, told ABC Radio Melbourne how she saw two police officers trying to tackle a man as a vehicle burned.

"Passers-by were calling out that members of the public had been stabbed", Supt Clayton said.

One man charged at the tall attacker with a shopping trolley just before police drew their weapons. Police say the driver of a pickup truck got out of his vehicle, which then caught fire, and attacked three bystanders with a knife before being fatally shot by police on Friday in Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city.

"I really wanted to help but I was in shock, I didn't know what to do".

Police want to hear from people who witnessed the event or captured footage as they piece together what happened.

Police cordon off Bourke St after a auto explosion.

Streets were closed and trams halted while police attend the scene.

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

The Islamic State group late on Friday said one of its fighters carried out the assault but provided no evidence for the claim, news agency Reuters reported from Dubai.

  • Tracy Klein