It was around 2pm on an otherwise ordinary Sunday afternoon when the Streatham attacker began his bloody rampage.
In the Life Cafe, diners enjoying lunch were oblivious to the terror until a police officer burst in.
He shouted: ‘We’ve got to evacuate. There’s been a terrorist incident… If you want to stay safe, you’ll listen to me.’
Asked by a waitress if they could have half-an-hour to finish their meals, his response was clear: ‘Madam, a terrorist has been shot dead just down there.
‘They’ve got a possible IED vest on them, which is a bomb. If you want to stay open for half-an-hour and you want to put people’s lives in danger, be my guest.’
Outside the horror was clear to see.
The terrorist had been shot dead outside a Boots chemists after a team of undercover officers brandishing handguns swooped.
Filmed by a bystander from a passing bus, shocking footage shows the men in jeans, trainers and hoodies pointing their firearms at the attacker’s convulsing body.
One of the officers kicks away a knife on the pavement before backing off.
A third officer skids on to the scene on a blue motorbike while another ushers onlookers away from the scene shouting: ‘Get away.’
As the bus drives on, it passes two victims lying on the pavement.
Two innocent bystanders, a man and a woman, had been stabbed in broad daylight in front of dozens of horrified onlookers on one of south London’s busiest shopping streets.
Next to one victim, a pushchair was abandoned on the pavement as members of the public desperately tried to give first aid.
Fearing an explosion from the attacker’s ‘suicide vest’, dozens of shoppers had been ordered to take shelter behind the closed shutters of Boots and a WHSmith store.
Families in a nearby Odeon cinema were interrupted mid-way through their films and evacuated by police.
Witnesses said the terror began when the attacker, later revealed to be 20-year-old Sudesh Amman, walked into the Low Price hardware store before choosing his deadly weapon, said to be a £3.99 kitchen knife.
Shopkeeper Jagmon Singh watched Amman, dressed in a grey tracksuit and a black and grey top, pluck the knife off the shelf and unpeel the packaging. Maybe believing him to be a shoplifter, he tried to wrestle it off him.
‘The shopkeeper tried to get the knife from him but he got away and stabbed a woman on a bicycle,’ said a nurse who saw the horror. ‘The knife was really big.’
The female victim, said to be in her 40s, was stabbed along with a man outside the neighbouring White Lion pub.
Mechanical engineer Nardos Mulugeta, 52, saw the injured man outside the pub and said police arrived almost immediately.
‘I saw a guy lying down in front of the pub with stab wounds across his stomach,’ he told the Daily Mail.
‘About ten minutes later, a woman came in and said she had also been stabbed. I had ran over because I was smoking further down the road and heard a shot.
‘At first I thought it might have been a car backfiring. Then I heard three or four further shots. People were running so I went to investigate. That’s when I saw a guy on the floor next to the pub. He had very bad injuries to his stomach.
‘He was going pale. People were saying ‘Stay with us’ and talking to him. Then another woman came and knelt at the Low Price Store.
‘She said, ‘He stabbed me in the back’. Two people started helping her. A policeman came and asked if any other people had been stabbed.’
Comedian David Chawner, 31, was on his way to the Odeon when he saw two police officers in plain clothes pointing firearms at the attacker outside Boots, around 300ft from the Low Price Store.
‘I ran to the other side of the road where I saw a white, possibly European victim on the ground, bleeding from the lower abdomen,’ he said.
‘I tried to compress the bleeding. I ran off as instructed to flag down the ambulance.’
Shockingly, Mr Chawner said it took more than 30 minutes for paramedics to arrive. ‘I’m shaking. I’m still in shock,’ he added.
Witnesses told how the attacker was felled by up to four gun shots which made shoppers flee.
Daniel Gough said he ran with them, adding: ‘There was panic, people were yelling. A young girl running alongside me kept asking ‘Is this what I’m meant to do?’
She was very distressed. After a few minutes, I went back and saw a policeman and he yelled, telling everyone to get back.
‘His gun was pointing in the direction of a man on the floor. Suddenly, more police appeared. There were [officers] everywhere.’
As the attacker lay ‘convulsing and twitching’ on the floor, officers cautiously approached and kicked his knife away.
To their horror, they saw a suspected suicide vest strapped to his stomach. Video shows the officers quickly retreating before evacuating nearby buildings.
Richard Mustonen-Smith, 59, a pastor at the Ascension Trust, said: ‘My grandson was in the Odeon and they got told to go out the back because there was a bomb.
‘When it’s your family, you don’t expect it. You’re always worried about your family being on the streets but this is even worse.’
Retired accountant John Woods, 64, was in a Wetherspoon’s pub when people ran inside following the sound of gunfire.
‘I went outside and it was obvious they were undercover police,’ he said.
‘There were a number of men armed but wearing normal clothes. From when I heard the shots and walked to the door, the police were already there. They must have been following him. There were black cars stopped.’
Dozens of emergency vehicles raced to the area and an air ambulance landed on nearby Tooting Bec Common. Last night forensic officers were combing the scene.
Many residents who had been evacuated were told it would be hours before they could go home.
The London Ambulance Service said the first paramedics arrived at the scene four minutes after being called just before 2pm.