A pregnant woman is in a critical condition after being stabbed multiple times in a town centre. A 41-year-old man has been arrested over the assault which occurred in Sutton Coldfield at around 3.15pm.
The stabbing happened in a side road next to the Sutton Coldfield Baptist Church Centre and close to the town's main shopping parade. Witnesses said they heard a woman scream 'not the baby' while men were heard shouting 'drop it', as the attack unfolded.
Police said initially one man intervened and then four others also came to the aid of the woman. Passers-by flagged down local police officers on Trinity Hill following the attack. Police have praised the bystanders who "bravely" intervened in the disorder, sustaining minor hand injuries in the incident.
The 40-year-old pregnant woman was taken to hospital by air ambulance. It has been reported that her baby has been born in hospital and is "doing well", according to West Midlands Police. The mother remains in a critical condition.
Chief Inspector Julian Harper of West Midlands said: "This happened in a busy area. But I would reassure the community that a man has been arrested and we are working hard to understand the circumstances that led up to the assault.
"What is clear at this early stage is that two members of the public bravely stepped into what was a dangerous and volatile situation, with complete disregard for their own safety and I commend them for their actions. Fortunately they suffered only minor injuries."
Mr Harper said of the victim and the suspect: "They are believed known to each other so this was what we call a domestic-related situation. Obviously our wishes are with her and we hope that she will recover."
"At this time they [the victim] is in hospital and are in critical but stable condition. Our thoughts are with them and their family."
West Midlands Ambulance Service said an ambulance, paramedic area support officer, a BASICS doctor and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford attended the scene.
A service spokesman said: "Crews treated one female patient at the scene before she was airlifted to hospital. Two further patients were treated for minor injuries and taken to hospital by land ambulance."
A large section of the area surrounding the busy town centre remained cordoned off as officers search for evidence Sky News reports.
Witnesses are asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.