Chapel Street in Windsor was locked down during the morning peak from 7am, with roads cordoned off, businesses closed and locals ordered indoors.
Heavily armed members of the Special Operations Group negotiated with the man, aged in his 20s, who was in a white van beside Windsor train station.
Inspector Andrew Stamper from Victoria Police said police received an “agitated call” from a man as well as multiple calls from concerned witnesses ahead of the three-hour standoff on Peel and Albert streets.
After negotiating with the man, police fired gas canisters into the van, smashing windows and causing loud bangs in the area.
The man was safely arrested and taken to a police car.
”Police negotiated with the male, he said he had a firearm but, at this stage, we haven’t located a firearm,” Stamper said.
“We won’t take any chances with community safety.”
The man was taken to Prahran police station to be interviewed by police.
It’s understood he received minor injuries during the arrest and was attended to by paramedics.
Stamper said the man told police he was armed with a firearm and began making threats of self-harm.
“Obviously at this time of morning on Chapel Street, it’s one of the busiest areas in the metropolitan area and our concerns were with the male with a firearm,” he said.
“We immediately looked to contain that scene, which we did very effectively, but part of that does involve some disruption to the public.”
Witness Sarah, who was visiting the city from Queensland, said the incident had been terrifying for those nearby.
“It’s been really mixed emotions, some people are a bit worried because they’re late for work or school, some are sad, some are confused,” she said.
“I know the police have got this, they’re very trained, they’ve got all the information they need, we’re all going to get through this.”