Markel Villasin was working in a nearby fast food restaurant when he heard a “commotion” outside in Bourke Street.
“Me and the managers ran out and we saw the car on fire. We took a step closer and there was an old man with blood on him, face down on the floor.
“They were giving him CPR — his face was lying in a pool of blood.”
Mr Villasin said he saw a man wielding a knife at police officers.
“But they eventually tasered him and shot him,” he said.
“It looked like police officers didn’t know how to handle the situation because obviously in Melbourne it’s so rare,” Mr Villasin said.
“Unfortunately, the [old] man passed away, they put a sheet on him. It was crazy because he was alive at my feet as they tried to work on him and then he passed away.”
Ella Campbell said she first realised something was wrong when she heard gunshots.
“We saw a guy running across the tram tracks of Bourke Street and police running backwards, and then we heard a gunshot go off, which was terrifying,” Ms Campbell said.
“Then we saw the car on fire on the right-hand side, and the police were telling us we couldn’t come any further.
“We all had to run, backwards, we were all told to move backwards and there was a guy laying on the ground out on the front on Bourke Street, and that was what we saw.”
Another witness, Michael, said it appeared the driver of the car that caught fire might have been trying to collide with a tram.
“It looked as though maybe he was trying to get the truck to run into a tram because the tram was just in front of it.”
He described seeing a man throw what looked like a “bomb” into the ute.
“The truck exploded on the other side, and it ran over the tram lines and kind of finished up towards [department store] Target.”
After the ute exploded, Michael said he saw a man attacking police with his hands.
“The attacker started attacking the police and started hitting the police, and then they shot him,” Michael said.
Peter Giang of Noble Park said he went outside when he heard an explosion.
“The attacker come out of the car and attacked the security and the car just burst into flames on one side,” he said.
He said a man tried to attack police in their car but the police managed to get out and tried to subdue him.
“It was scary but it seemed under control,” he said.
Mr Giang said he was not sure what made the car burst into flames.
Another witness, Tony Nguyen, said the car exploded about 30 metres from him.
“We were like ah, that’s a car bomb, that’s bad.
“I kept watching, I didn’t realise everyone was running and that’s when a really tall black guy was near the car, but then someone was approaching the car and he was checking to see if everyone was OK and that’s when the dark man stabbed the other guy and that’s when I ran.”
Alex Dickinson was walking on Bourke Street with Mr Nguyen when he said he heard what he thought was a “bomb”.
“And then everyone looked and there was a six foot, dark skin, no hair guy next to a car that was on fire.
“Another guy approached the guy and Tony said he got stabbed in the chest and then we went, we just left.”