Chaos at an inner-city supermarket in Darwin has been described as a “riot” and resulted in the arrest of at least one teenager.
- About 10 people are believed to have been involved in a knife fight in the Darwin CBD yesterday
- A 16-year-old has been arrested, with police expected to make further arrests
- NT Police say they believe those involved are linked to a remote community
Confronting footage of the incident has emerged on social media and shows several people entering the Darwin Woolworths complex, yelling and screaming.
One person can be seen jumping the counter of a coffee shop and arming themselves with a knife, before running towards the supermarket.
Northern Territory Police said the fight between about 10 people, allegedly involving several knives, happened at about half-past four on Tuesday afternoon.
One witness, Claire Ross, told ABC Radio Darwin her staff reported seeing a person armed with what looked like a machete.
“As I was closing the roller doors [to the adjacent pharmacy] people from outside were trying to run into the pharmacy for their own safety, they were really fearful for their lives,” Ms Ross said.
“One of the gentlemen with a red wine bottle went to fling it at people and I was hoping he wouldn’t fling it at us.”
Ms Ross said one of her staff members was returning from the rubbish bins when the fighting broke out and was confronted by a man with a knife.
“It was scary, there were a lot of people that were really distraught. They were just panicked and fearful,” Ms Ross said.
“He [the staff member said] ‘I just couldn’t believe it, there was a guy with two knives running at me and I thought I was going to die’.
Superintendent James O’Brien described the chaos as “extremely frightening” and “appalling behaviour.”
“We’re looking at at least 10 people walking around, there were at least two people that may have been armed with knives, that’s clearly seen on all the footage,” Supt O’Brien said.
He said police are still working out exactly how many people were involved in the incident, as opposed to passers-by, and said no injuries had been reported.
“What is very clear from the CCTV is that it was some type of disagreement between two groups of people… and it is very lucky it didn’t spill over into the general public,” Supt O’Brien said.
Police said they believed the people involved in the incident are linked to the Wadeye community, where hundreds of people have been displaced in recent months due to ongoing violence.
One 16-year-old has been arrested and police expect to make further arrests as investigations continue.
Supt O’Brien said investigators were looking over CCTV and video footage of the incident, however had not yet sighted any machetes.
“It’s appalling behaviour – absolutely appalling – and we do not expect that in our Darwin CBD, let alone anywhere else in the NT,” Supt O’Brien said.
He said police were not worried about violence “spilling over” into other parts of the community and were not aware of any link between the violence and alcohol.