1 dead in Melbourne stabbing; man attacked cops before being shot

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A courageous passer-by used a trolley in an attempt to stop a man who attacked police on Bourke Street in Melbourne.

"It's so chaotic", witness Sarah told Tom Elliott. "People who'd seen it had told me they heard shots being fired, and everyone heard an explosion that was like the petrol exploding".

When they arrived, they were allegedly confronted by a man who started lunging at them with a knife.

Pedestrians reportedly yelled "shoot him, shoot him" as they fled.

"Nearby police quickly responded to the (initial) incident", he said.

The attacker is in hospital in a critical condition and investigators have not released any information about his identity.

Her immediate thought was, "Oh no, not another Bourke Street incident", she said.

Stores lining the street urged people inside before locking their customers inside.

The attacker stopped his dual-cab ute on Bourke Street before setting it alight about 4.30pm.

Major disruptions are expected in the CBD on Friday evening, as details of a major incident in Bourke Street emerge.

"I kept watching", said witness Tony Nguyen, after what he described as a "car bomb".

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They had initially thought the man was running to catch a tram close by, before a nearby police auto rushed to the scene. Some witnesses said the auto exploded before the man began stabbing people.

The exploded vehicle was inside a designated pedestrian area.

The witness can be heard screaming as the knifeman gets his weapon just inches from the officer's face. Gas canisters were later found in the vehicle.

Officers said the auto contained several barbecue gas cylinders.

Ambulance Victoria said paramedics had assessed three people at the scene.

The attacker runs across the road, followed by police.

The two wounded stabbing victims were in the hospital.

Ashton added that the suspect, who has not yet been publicly named, was known to counter-terrorism officials.

"He seemed to be waving something, people around me screamed that he had a knife, but I couldn't see clearly from where I was", she said.

Another witness, Markel, told the radio station he ran out of the store he was working and nearly stood on a victim.

"Turned out there was an old man in front of me, literally by my feet".