THE gunman who shutdown Queensland's busiest shopping area while armed with a handgun was known to police and was reportedly threatening self-harm.

Brisbane's Queen Street mall was at the centre of a dramatic siege which saw the man, in his early 30s, shot by police just after 12.40pm today.

Police confirmed man, who was wearing no shirt and had numerous tattoos, was taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries. reported that taxi driver Tariq Khan witnessed the final moments of the siege just before 1pm.

"Shoot me, shoot me," he said the gunman was yelling at police.

He said at one stage the gunman was offered, and accepted cigarettes, and had a smoke.

News Ltd is reporting the troubled father of three was days away from fronting court on a string of charges around a self-harm incident.

The man, 34, was due to face Caboolture Magistrates Court this week on multiple charges.

Acting chief supt Mark Ainsworth told media he was unaware of reports that the man had pleaded to see his children.

Hewould not comment on how the man was shot by police or how many shots were fired.

There were reports he was shot with non-lethal rounds of pellet bags or rubber bullets.

The drama unfolded about 11.20am when police encountered the man during routine pro-active police duties in the mall.

Acting chief supt Ainsworth said the man produced a handgun, sparking the drama.

He was by himself. There were no hostages.

More than an hour after the drama, witnesses reported hearing two or three shots being fired.

ABC television reported the man had been shot in the arm or shoulder.

Heavily armed police had moved into Brisbane's Queen Street mall after the heavily-tattoed gunman caused the evacuation of Queensland's biggest shopping precinct.

APN reporter Owen Jacques, who was on the scene, said Special Emergency Response Team officers had converged on the area.

Police were urging people to avoid the area as they continue negotiations with the man.

He had a mobile phone but it was unclear whether negotiations were face to face or via phone.

Television footage just after 12.40pm showed police running down the mall.

Nine reporter Shane Doherty said: "Police got excited about two minutes ago and we heard bangs.''

"I heard three bangs. That's what I heard and it sounded like gunshots to me.''

He said there were dozens of police in bullet-proof vests.

Groups of shoppers were being evacuated.

Shoppers were told to evacuate the Myer complex about 11.30am.

No explanation was given at the time.

Television images show the shirtless man appeared agitated as he sat on a red chair in the middle of the mall.

Seven News reported the man was known to police after having a restraining order against him involving a Sunshine Coast police officer. This has not been confirmed.

The alleged gunman had been at the George Street end of the mall.

Police had concentrated their efforts there and the public has been pushed back to the corner of George and Elizabeth streets.

Most of the public have been told to assemble in the park opposite the Treasury Casino.

Earlier, police took to Facebook and Twitter to warn they had declared an emergency situation under the Public Safety Preservation Act (PSPA) in the Queen Street Mall.

"The emergency situation was declared at 11.20am after police received reports of an armed person.

"The area has been evacuated and motorists and pedestrians are advised to avoid the area.


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