A man has been shot dead by police after they responded to a stabbing attack at a South Hedland shopping centre in WA’s Pilbara that left five people in hospital.
A WA Police spokesman confirmed several officers responded to reports of an armed offender just before 10am on Friday.
“Officers have discharged a firearm. St John Ambulance were called to assist,” the police spokesman said.
“The male who died is the person who was engaged by police, and he received a gunshot wound.”
A WA Country Health Service spokesperson confirmed five people had been taken to Hedland Health Campus to be treated for injuries sustained in the attack.
Two were in a serious but stable condition and three were stable.
Witness Ric, who did not want to provide his surname, said he was walking to the entrance of the shopping centre when he heard two gunshots.
“I thought it was just people just fighting and banging on stuff, but then when we walked in I saw a man lying on ground with police above him,” he said.
“He’d been shot. He looked like he was unconscious.
“He was on his back, his shirt was open and there were some people tending to his wounds. It looked like he had chest wounds.”
Ric said there were two people, one male and one female, who he believed had been stabbed.
“They were sitting up and conscious.”
Witness saw a ‘great big knife’
Shelley Farquhar said she was leaving the shopping centre when she saw the attack.
“I saw this guy swinging a great big knife at this lady who had a toddler in the trolley,” she said.
“Then he gave up on her and came in, because I was there, and was swinging at me.
“I didn’t know where to go, but I got out of the road.
“Fortunately there were two police officers at the entrance of Kmart, they heard the lady screaming and they took off after this guy.
“Another bloke walked in from outside and he came up to me and said he’s been stabbed, he was stabbed in the neck.”
Ms Farquhar said she was left shaken after the incident.
“Nothing was said, he just took off but the cops were right behind him,” she said.
Ms Farquhar said the man with the knife was wearing work clothing.
“He wasn’t a big guy but it was a big knife, so he was obviously on a mission,” she said.
“It was a decent sized carving knife.”
CCTV vision of the incident is being reviewed by police.
Screams heard ahead of gunshot
South Hedland local Brooke Bailey said she was in a nearby shop when she heard a commotion and yelling.
“As a local you sort of get a little bit used to that, but it was escalating,” she said.
“Then there were some screams and then I heard someone, I assume the police, [yell] for someone to ‘put the knife down’.
“Then there was more screaming, more screaming, and then I heard a gunshot, which I thought ‘surely not, that can’t be happening’.
“Then there was another shot and then another shot, so I believe from memory there was three gunshots.
“Then me and the other people in the shop just sort of thought ‘we’ve got to get out of here’.”
Ms Bailey said after walking into the shopping centre carpark, she saw people arming themselves with weapons to protect themselves.
“They were saying ‘where’s the guy with the knife?’,” she said.
“Then I just saw the cops come flying into the carpark … everyone in the carpark was just standing still.
“It was pretty scary, pretty crazy.”
The public is being asked to avoid the South Hedland Square shopping Centre.