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Details of what sparked Westfield meltdown

POSSIBLE GUNMAN MARION
Shoppers who were locked in the centre on Sunday. They are not accused of any wrongdoing. Picture: NewsWire / Brenton Edwards

A teenage fight over a $285 jumper allegedly sparked Adelaide’s Westfield Marion shopping centre meltdown, according to court documents, after three boys charged over their involvement in the melee fronted court.

The chaos kicked off about 3pm Sunday after the trio allegedly approached another group of boys at the centre’s food court armed with “expandable batons”, SA Police said on Sunday.

A scuffle occurred, with the violence triggering Westfield’s emergency lockdown and evacuation procedures, with alarms blaring throughout the centre and major storefronts locking their doors to keep shoppers safe.

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Heavily armed specialist tactical officers stormed the centre and swept through it across the afternoon to find the alleged offenders, with the police announcing arrests on Monday morning.

Two of the three boys, aged 15 and 16, appeared at Adelaide Youth Court in the morning, charged with affray, theft using force and assault offences

A third boy appeared at court in the afternoon, charged with assault, affray and theft using force.

POSSIBLE GUNMAN MARION
Police officers attend the centre in Marion on Sunday. Picture: NewsWire / Brenton Edwards
A Front Runner Track Star Hoodie.
A Front Runner Track Star Hoodie.

In documents seen by NewsWire, prosecutors allege two of the boys tried to steal a jumper valued at $285.

“On the 23rd day of June 2024 at Oaklands Park in the said State, (the teens) committed robbery by using force, or threatening to use force … in order to commit theft by taking a jumper of the value of $285 … and the force was used, or the threat was made, at the time of, or immediately before or after, the theft,” the document states.

It is understood the jumper was a Track Star hoodie.

“These three boys chased the other boys through the centre, and through the CCTV we were able to see they entered the David Jones store,” Assistant Commissioner Scott Duval said on Sunday.

“The boys would appear to be known to each other but obviously we are in the early days of the investigation of the incident and we have investigators here again reviewing the CCTV, trying to make sure the information we have can be verified in some way.”

The bail applications for all three teens were adjourned for court-ordered reports.

The teens were remanded in custody and will appear again in court on July 4.

Shoppers evacuate a prominent Adelaide shopping centre following reports of an armed individual inside.

There were no injuries from the altercation, but a woman in her 70s and a teenage girl suffered injuries in the panic and evacuation that ensued.

Video of the terrifying moments quickly circulated across social media.

Heavily armed STAR officers storm into the centre and sirens can be heard going off in the centre as shoppers scramble to flee.

Other footage from the centre posted to social media shows people locked down and waiting in the Target staffroom.

One photo from the scene shows a billboard warning: “Armed Offender: Escape, Hide, Tell”.

One shopper, posting to social media, writes: “I’m in here, they are evacuating everyone in here”.

Numerous stores, including Woolworths and Rebel Sport, immediately shuttered their doors on the alert to keep shoppers safe.

One shopper, writing to social media, said the scene turned into “absolute bedlam” after the alert sounded.

“The alert was so quiet and took until the 3rd one to realise,” she said.

“We were in the movies with the two kids and it wasn’t until the third one she said weapon David Jones and so shook up.

“We ran out the fire escape as one of the first from the whole cinemas and were left to find an escape. Just opening doors to find which one gets to the carport.”

POSSIBLE GUNMAN MARION
Tania Reckwell greets her son Zac after he was locked in Westfield Marion. Picture: NewsWire / Brenton Edwards

The centre has reopened for trade after Sunday’s lockdown.

Assistant Commissioner Duval praised Scentre for its emergency procedures and said the heavy police response was “absolutely” justified.

“We live in uncertain times and it is our job to ensure community safety,” he said.

He also said the Bondi massacre had informed Sunday’s response.

“These types of reactions to these incidents very much are influenced by incidents like Bondi,” he said.

Westfield Marion is the largest shopping centre in South Australia, located about 15km from the Adelaide CBD in the city’s southern suburbs.

Police conducted an active armed offender training drill at the centre in mid-June.

“The active armed offender scenario, Wednesday week ago, is very much about training for this kind of activity,” Assistant Commissioner Duval said.