Two suspects in custody after Bedford Centre shooting

Five civilians were wounded when gunmen attempted to rob a bank in the mall.

People assist the wounded after an armed robbery at the Bedford Centre. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - Two men have been arrested after an attempted armed robbery in Bedfordview in which five civilians were shot.

Bedford Centre management has confirmed there was a shootout between SBV guards and robbers shortly before midday.

The police say many of the wounded, who have been taken to hospital, are in a critical condition.

The two suspects who were arrested were also wounded and are being treated under police guard.

Amongst the wounded are two guards who were shot in the leg and in a stable condition.

The identities of the other victims have not yet been released.

A man in handcuffs at the Bedford Centre following a shooting on 29 January 2015. Picture: Supplied

This eyewitness was in the shopping centre when the shots were fired.

"People had already warned us there was a hit near the banks. We had sat down to order a coffee and then we heard screaming and people were running. We heard shots and I just grabbed my girlfriend to get her out of there."

He says he could hear screams all around the centre and moved quickly to hide.

"The guys continued to hold up the place. They shot three people, I think. Then the cops came in and the rest is history. But everyone was panicking and running around. It was quite hectic."

It's understood a gang of men attempted to rob the Standard Bank.

One of the suspects ran away but was shot and wounded in the parking lot.

At 4pm the lower level of the shopping centre where the heist took place was still cordoned off.

Piles of clothing and shoes covered in blood could be seen in the area.

Shops close to the banking area also remained closed, while it was business as usual on the other end of the centre.

SBV security guards were coming down the escalators after collecting money from the banking mall on the upper level.

They were approached by a number of gunmen and a shootout ensued.

Meanwhile, staff at the Wimpy restaurant have told Eyewitness News the gunmen had coffee at their restaurant just hours before they attacked, most likely planning their attack.

The owner and staff, who were visibly traumatised and scared, say crime in South Africa is out of control.

Staff recalled scenes detailing how they fled from the kitchen, tills and the tables they were serving when the first gunshots were fired.

"I just heard something like bullets. But I thought maybe it was balloons popping at the party shop next door and then I saw a customer running into the restaurant," she said.

The restaurant has closed shop for the day.

The Bedford Centre basement area cordoned off as police continue combing the scene. Picture: Jacob Moshokoa/EWN.

Other shoppers described today's cash-in-transit heist like a scene from a movie.

Many say the sounds of gunshots have left them traumatised.

Meanwhile, people working in the centre say they thought they worked at a safe place.

This woman who works in the office tower says she is now scared to report to work.

"I'm just a little worried about security and a little bit traumatised because I work at the mall and never thought something like this could happen."

Markings at the scene of a shooting at Bedford Centre on 29 January 2015. Picture: Emer-G-Med.