The hostage standoff at a mall located in San Juan City has now reached its sixth hour as negotiations continue between authorities and the hostage-taker.
Members of the PNP Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) enters the Vmall after a reported hostage-taking is taking place, in San Juan City. (Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN)
A disgruntled former security guard who went absent without leave (AWOL) held hostage about 30 people and injured another security guard at V-Mall in Greenhills Shopping Center at around 11 a.m. on Monday.
Eastern Police District director Brig. Gen. Johnson Almazan told the Manila Bulletin they have received reports of a hostage situation at V-Mall at around noon.
As of writing, four colleagues of suspect Archie Paray are set to make their statements to the media.
Initial reports from authorities disclosed Paray took hostage more or less 30 employees inside the mall administrator’s office. Before that, police said the suspect disarmed and shot security guard Ronald Velita.
According to a police source, there were reportedly 27 people, four of them women, that were held hostage inside the mall’s admin office. This is yet to be confirmed by authorities.
Paray also allegedly took the handheld radio of one of the security personnel which he used to communicate with the authorities.
According to the police source, a spent .45 caliber pistol round was found in a hallway.
San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora told reporters that the security guard complained because he was sacked from his work, and added that the suspect demanded to talk to his fellow security guards and the media.
“Masama ang kanyang loob kasi siya ay tinanggal bilang guwardiya,” the mayor told reporters.
Meanwhile, Zamora said the security guard shot by Paray was already in stable condition.
After the suspect reportedly fired a shot, mall goers rushed out of the establishment.
Policemen were immediately deployed and cordoned off the mall, which is a go-to place for people looking for cheap items such as clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, electronic devices and other products.
Following the hostage incident, the management of Greenhills Shopping Center released a statement saying they are “working closely” with the authorities.