NSW police shot a man at a Sydney Westfield centre, also injuring three bystanders

The incident at Westfield Hornsby. Source: Twitter

NSW police have shot a man at a Westfield shopping centre at Hornsby, in Sydney’s north.

Police say emergency services were called to the shopping centre at 11.50am today following reports that a man was armed with a knife.

Officers attempted to speak to him, but a confrontation occurred and a number of shots were fired by police.

Three bystanders injured by bullets or fragments when two officers shot the man.

At a media conference this afternoon assistant commissioner Denis Clifford said earlier reports that people had been stabbed were wrong.

“Unfortunately some bystanders were also injured with either bullet or fragment wounds,” he said.

“All up we have four people that have been injured through gunfire, being the person of interest to us and three ladies who I’m told are aged between 60 and 80 years of age.”

The assistant commissioner said believed the man at the centre of the shooting was reported missing from a nearby psychiatric centre on Wednesday and police had been trying to find him. Clifford said the man was “wounded several times”.

A 23-year-old man is said to be in a serious but stable condition in Royal North Shore Hospital

Two women, aged 82 and 65, are in stable conditions there, along with a third woman, aged 60, in Westmead Hospital.

Asked why police used guns rather than a Taser, Clifford said “a decision was made by those officers in a life and death situation”.

“In this one the officers have made a decision but we do know they are dealing with a person with a rather large knife who came at the officers and they’ve made that decision to use their weapons,” he said.

The incident occurred in an outdoors area of the mall, where a market was being held. In footage posted on social media, three officers can be seen near the mall’s fountain with their weapons drawn pointed at the man, who is lying on the ground.

The man was described by eyewitnesses who saw him before the shooting as looking “drug-induced and depressed”, and “babbling incoherently”, according to Nine News.

Police have launched critical incident investigation following the shooting and are calling for witnesses to come forward.

The latest incident comes just two months after Alexander Villaluna walked into a Korean restaurant at the centre armed with a knife and stabbed his former partner, Jovi Pilapil, and killed Keith Collins, 53, while the couple were on their first date.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.