Shoppers and retail workers have detailed the terrifying moments they found themselves sprinting and screaming through Westfield Marion shopping centre in suburban Adelaide on a Sunday afternoon. 

One couple recounted the “scary” moment fellow shoppers came charging into their cinema, warning them to get up and run. 

“We were in the movies, and just heard this noise going off,” the young woman told ABC News Channel.

Look back at our blog to see how Sunday’s events unfolded

“It sounded like something saying ’emergency, call 000′, but it had been going off for 10 minutes and no-one really knew what it was.” 

She said someone got up and left, and then “all of a sudden” a flood of people sprinted in. 

“Everyone just came running in and sprinting in and everyone was yelling ‘run, run!'”

“We hid behind the seats at first, but then we just got up and started sprinting and running for the emergency exit,” she said.

She said they ran downstairs but had no idea whether it was a drill or something serious was happening. 

“It was terrifying,” added the young male next to her. 

Westfield Marion shopping centre went into lockdown on Sunday evening after reports of fighting between two groups of young males.

Witness thought assailant was coming into the cinema

Another witness who was inside the cinema told the ABC people initially believed the people responsible for the attack had entered the cinema. 

“We didn’t really know what was going on, and then people started to leave because they were a bit confused,” they said. 

That was until people came back inside.

“And then [the crowd] was just flooding back in, screaming,” they said. 

“We thought the people [assailants] had entered the cinema, to be honest, so we ducked, and then I was like, we just need to run, so we ran.”

Multiple TikTok videos were posted, showing chaotic scenes of people running through the shopping centre. 

Everything ‘hypervigilant’ after Bondi

Alex Perkins said his wife and four-year-old son were also in the movies when they were told to evacuate.

They only got through half the movie and he said it kept playing despite the evacuation warning.

He said he and his family were now at home but “pretty shaken up”. 

He had returned to the centre to pick up their belongings.

Alex Perkins said he and his family were “shaken up” by the incident.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

He said he was worried following the Bondi incident but thanked police and centre management for their response.

In April, six people were killed in a knife attack at Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre in Sydney’s east.

Another witness told ABC News that everything was “hypervigilant” as a result. 

“With everything that happened in Sydney, everything’s hypervigilant and on alert,” they said. 

“So it’s been pretty full on watching the police arrive and everyone doing what they’re doing.”

Dale Benedict Cubar hid inside a sushi store throughout the lockdown.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

Dale Benedict Cubar was working in a sushi store at the time and said he hid for an hour. 

He says about 10 people hid alongside him and he was messaging his girlfriend throughout.

Announcement ‘not clear’, witnesses say 

Witnesses said the announcements over the speaker made it difficult to understand the severity of the situation. 

One shopper told ABC News he repeatedly was asking, “What did the announcement say?”

“They were making an announcement that was just not clear,” they said. 

“It was not at all clear, and it was like not consistent, it was a couple of minutes then paused and then a couple of minutes.”

This witness told ABC News people started running after hearing an announcement. (ABC News)

Another witness said that some people didn’t seem to hear it but only began running after others did. 

“We heard some announcement, and the Westfield security people I saw them talking with each other,” he explained. 

“Then I heard the announcement, but at first no-one was hearing it at that time, then [everyone] started running. 

“We were in Mecca, we were planning on going into David Jones but everyone started running out.”

A third witness told ABC News that they originally assumed someone had collapsed. 

“We saw people running around, but I thought maybe someone collapsed and that’s why they didn’t want the public to panic,” they said. 

“But then the announcement wasn’t clear at all.” 

‘Definitely not in Adelaide’

Wendy Harris was still locked inside Woolworths when ABC News spoke to her on the phone. 

She said she was at the check-out getting ready to leave the store when the shutters came down. 

“There was an announcement saying there was an incident with weapons in the mall, and that the mall was in lockdown as a result,” she said.

“It was all pretty fast, the shutters came down really quickly, I didn’t even realise they were coming down because I was at the check-out and next thing I look up and the whole store was shut.”

Ms Harris said the incident was nothing like what you’d expect on a normal Sunday shop in Adelaide. 

“No, not in Adelaide – maybe in other parts of the world but definitely not in Adelaide, so it was quite a surprise,” she said. 

She said she felt “safe” knowing the police had taken control of the situation. 

ABC News

Posted , updated