“We are working closely with Westfield. It may be fortuitous but Wednesday week ago we had an exercise with Westfield where we basically ran through an incident that involved an active armed offender here at Westfield.”

Joy, a long-time resident in the local area, was at Kmart which is at the other end of the shopping centre from David Jones, when the emergency was announced.

She estimated that around 100 or so shoppers were in the store, told of the emergency and moved to the back of the store.

“They just kept saying over the loudspeaker that there was an emergency and I don’t think people really believed it until they actually pulled the doors down on the store,” Joy said.

“Once they pulled the doors down, then people realised something was happening.

“Nobody has really panicked and you can’t fault the Kmart staff, they have been absolutely excellent.

“They have kept everybody calm, they are feeding us and handing out blankets to those who are cold. The staff have been brilliant, absolutely brilliant.”

Seven News Adelaide has published videos of what it says are officers from South Australia Police’s Special Tasks and Rescue Unit inside the shopping centre.

The police are wearing tactical gear, brandishing guns and carrying shields in the vision, which also shows shops with shutters down and an empty-seeming shopping centre.

Joy said at around 5pm AEST she and other shoppers had been locked down in the store for about an hour while police continued their operations and they won’t be able to leave until police declare it is safe to go.

“I’m sure people are shaken but they have just been chatting or talking with family on the phone.

“We don’t know what is going on. You hear bits and pieces but they [the staff] said they will keep us updated. They just said that until we get clearance from police, we can’t let you out. That’s fine. They have been more than helpful.

SA Pol’s website says STAR officers’ duties “include the apprehension of armed offenders”.

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