Philippine police on Monday surrounded a shopping mall in an upscale section of Manila after a recently dismissed security guard opened fire and took dozens of people hostage.
The gunman, who was armed with a pistol, shot one person at the V-Mall. The victim is in a stable condition at a nearby hospital, a police negotiator was trying to talk to the gunman — a disgruntled former security guard at the shopping complex — inside a mall administration office.
“He felt bad because he was removed as a guard,” Mayor Francis Zamora told reporters, adding that the man tried but failed to convince fellow guards to join him. Aside from a pistol, the hostage-taker was yelling that he had a grenade, but authorities could not immediately confirm that Zamora said.
An initial police report said the hostage-taker, who was identified as Archie Paray, shot a mall official before rushing to the second floor of the complex, where he was holding dozens of mostly employees in an office. The report said, “more or less 50 staffs” were being held hostage, but it did not provide other details.
Zamora said about 30 to 40 people were being held, adding that his estimate was based on the size of the administrative office where they were being held.
The suspect was complaining of “unequal treatment,” the police report said.
He was apparently dismissed from work after abandoning his job in recent weeks without notifying management, Zamora said. He said the hostages were fine and added that authorities were trying to resolve the situation without further violence.
The gunman demanded to talk to fellow guards and the media, Zamora said, but it was not clear if officials would agree to those conditions.
More than a dozen SWAT commandos were earlier seen entering the mall, their assault rifles ready. Other policemen stood by outside, along with an ambulance.
The shopping complex, popular for its restaurants, shops, bars, and a bazaar, lies near an upscale residential enclave, a golf club and the police and military headquarters in the bustling metropolis of more than 12 million people, where law and order have long been a concern.
More to follow