The ABC reports witnesses saw the man throw some kind of object into the car that set it alight.
In a live cross during the 7pm news bulletin, the ABC said the man crashed the car, got out and threw the object into the car.
We have now published some footage of the incident today. It shows the car on fire, the man fighting with police, and the suspect being arrested.
Warning: Some viewers may find the footage distressing.
The Victorian opposition leader, Matthew Guy, has offered his thanks to police.
Will Mitchell said he was getting a haircut across the mall from Target when people began running past screaming.
“The hairdresser goes run, run, run, run and they run out of the shop and close the shop,” he said. “I went out to see what happened and there was a car on fire.
“I was across the road and the car was on the opposite side of the road next to Target. I was just across the road, where the Starbucks coffee shop was, and I felt the heat from the car. All I saw was commotion and people running everywhere. Then I just stayed around and the police cordoned off the area.”
Members of the public are being urged to upload any video of the attack to Victoria Police.
Here is Calla Wahlquist’s report on today’s attack.
Bourke Street has been closed by Vic Roads, for an indefinite period.
There is no access to Bourke St from Swanston St or Exhibition St. Russell St remains open to traffic. Bourke St will be re-opened when police investigations are complete.
People have been told to avoid the CBD tonight if they can.
Clayton also shared more details of how the attack was subdued.
“Nearby police quickly responded to the incident [of a car on fire in Bourke Street],” he said.
“As they got out of the car they were confronted by a male brandishing a knife and threatening them. At the same time, passersby were calling out that members of the public had been stabbed.
“Police shot the male in the chest and he is now in a critical condition under guard in hospital.”
You can watch the full press conference below.
No terrorism links at this stage
Police have said there are no known links to terrorism at this time.
“The investigation is ongoing, we are keeping an open mind,” Superintendent David Clayton said.
“There are no known links to terrorism at this stage. We are keeping an open mind”.
He added that police were not looking for any other attackers at this stage.
The bomb response unit have cordoned off the area around the mall, and are “now making the scene safe”.
He said any witnesses or those with information should go to Melbourne West Police Station to make a statement.
He did not take any questions as it was “very early in the stage of the investigation.”
One confirmed dead
Victoria Police confirm that one person has died at the scene.
Two others are currently in hospital, Superintendent David Clayton said in a press conference.
Police confirmed that they shot the suspected attacker in the chest. He is in a critical condition under guard in hospital.
It’s so eerie. The onlookers have been cleared away and only media and police allowed to remain.
The loudspeakers in the city for mass incidents are being used and a warning message to avoid the area is blaring through the streets which are empty except for emergency cars, police and a media scrum.
We are waiting for a press conference to begin. It’s starting to drizzle with rain.
Pictures from the incident, taken by press photographers, appear to show an injured man lying underneath a white sheet.
The severity of his injuries have not been confirmed.
We are still waiting on the police press conference.
Media are standing by for the press conference, which has not yet begun.
What we know so far
The ABC have spoken to witness Meegan May:
“A couple of people on the trams were saying someone had a knife and when I got up and looked through the rear window, I could see a big ute on fire driving across the road,” she said.
“It sort of came to a stop on the other side, and then I could see a man and two police sort of trying to calm him down. He was waving his arms around, someone was saying he had a knife – I couldn’t tell from where I was.
“And then not too long after that, I heard a loud bang that sounded a bit like a gunshot, nothing like an explosion, and then a person near me said they could see someone giving someone chest compressions, and an ambulance and 50 cop cars came out of nowhere not long after that.”
Victoria Police will give a press conference at 5.45pm.
I‘ve just spoken with Neil McKellar, who works in Hylands Bookshop on Bourke Street close to the scene.
McKellar spoke of hearing a loud explosion and then gunshots. He’s just left his building and walked along Little Bourke Street nearby. He said the scene was restricted and police and emergency services were there in force.
The scene seemed to be under control.
“We heard the explosion, and we heard gunshots later,” McKellar said. “We’re in an ex-cinema in Bourke Street. We heard it but we didn’t know what it was.”
Footage from the incident shows a man using a trolley to subdue the attacker. A warning that the footage contains the audio of a gunshot at the end.
The man, whose identity is unclear, is being dubbed “Trolley Man” by some.
Other footage, sourced from the Chinese language social media app WeChat, shows the suspected attacker lying on the ground being handcuffed by police.
Meanwhile, police are expanding their lines.
Vic Roads have urged people to avoid the area – especially Swanston Street and Bourke Street.
People should also take care on Russell Street, Little Collins Street and Elizabeth Street and Little Bourke Street.
Trams are not running on Swanston or Bourke Streets in any direction.