New video from the confronting shooting scene at Westfield Hornsby has revealed the moments after police officers discharged their guns and hit innocent bystanders with stray bullets.
The video shows the victims on the ground, in shock and bleeding.
Good Samaritans come to their assistance while police guard the man who had just lunged at officers with a knife.
Former top cops are backing the police officers who opened fire - but say they need more training.
Police meant to shoot Jerry Sourian but Anne-Marie Petitfells, 60, Elaine For, 65, and Lorraine Pendleton, 82, were all hit by stray bullets.
Witnesses can be heard saying: "If they didn't help her she's going to die."
Friend of one of the shot bystanders Susan Brown said: "It would have been a big shock for her to be up there and caught up in that."
The bystanders were struck by bullets or shrapnel, fired from the female police officer's .40 calibre Glock pistol.
She is heard saying: “I'm so sorry. So sorry.”
The officer apologised to the women and bouquets of flowers have since been delivered to Hornsby police station addressed to her.
The officers were criticised because Tasers were not used in the incident.
Retired superintendent Ron Mason said the officer might not have had a choice but to fire her gun.
Formerly of the Tactical Response Group, Mr Mason said: "Somebody with a mental illness that are actually running at you and you've got a split second decision to make, a taser may not have been the best option.”
Retired Sergeant William Eyles attended the fatal accident of his own son and he said people do not understand the trauma police experience.
William Eyles, Retired Police Detective Sergeant, said: "I'd rather go home, alive, with an investigation behind me than not go home at all.”
The first person to call 000 was a fruiterer at the mall.
He has told 7 News, and told investigators who took his statement today, he called police because Jerry Sourian was shouting "Alluah Akhbar" and waving the knife around.
The first police on scene thought they could be dealing with a terror threat.
Police have since said it had nothing to do with terrorism.
Mr Sourian is mentally ill forcibly admitted to a local mental health clinic, yet was allowed day release.