Reports of young men with weapons at Westfield shopping centre in Adelaide sparks lockdown

<span>SA police officers took control of Westfield Marion in Oaklands Park to search for the groups involved in the disturbance.<br></span><span>Photograph: Tracey Nearmy/The Guardian</span>
SA police officers took control of Westfield Marion in Oaklands Park to search for the groups involved in the disturbance.
Photograph: Tracey Nearmy/The Guardian

A fight between two groups of teenagers in a food court has sent a major Adelaide shopping centre into lockdown.

South Australia police received reports just before 3pm on Sunday of two groups fighting in the food court area of the Westfield Marion shopping centre in Oaklands Park.

An assistant commissioner, Scott Duval, said SA police had reports of two groups of teenage boys fighting in the food court, including some armed with expandable batons.

Centre management activated an audible alert and evacuation alarm and sent the centre into lockdown.

Photos of large digital signs inside the centre warned members of the public of an armed offender in the complex.

Social media footage from shoppers showed armed officers storming into the centre while dozens of shoppers tried to run to safety.

“[One group] approached another group of boys and an altercation occurred,” Duval told reporters at the scene on Sunday.

“The expandable batons are seen and, at this stage, we cannot discount any other weapons but we have reports that a knife may be involved.”

Duval said three boys had chased the other teenagers through the centre and entered the David Jones store.

A number of police patrols were sent to respond and, despite a thorough search of the centre including the rooftops, at 5pm police said the groups could not be found.

“Several shoppers who sought refuge in shops were safely escorted from the centre,” SA police said. “Police are satisfied that there is no ongoing threat to the community.”

A woman in her 70s suffered a shoulder injury and another person in their 30s has suffered a knee injury, South Australia ambulance service said.

One of the patients was being transferred to the Flinders Medical Centre for treatment and paramedics remained at the shopping centre, a spokesperson said.

One witness, who was in the cinema when the commotion began, told ABC News how it unfolded.

“We were in the movies and we just heard this noise going on saying ‘emergency’ … and nobody really knew what it was – if it was a phone or something,” they said.

“Someone went out of the movies and all of a sudden everyone just came running in – just sprinting incoming, yelling, ‘Run, run.’ Then we got up and started sprinting towards the emergency exit.”

Investigations are ongoing.

A spokesperson for Westfield Marion said the centre’s team had provided full support to SA police, and briefly SA police were in full control of the site.

The centre will reopen for trade as normal on Monday.

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