Hostages freed from Manila mall

Archie Paray, the gunman and former security guard who held in hostage dozens inside a mall, shakes hand with his former colleague after releasing his hostages in San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines, March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

MANILA: A disgruntled security guard who lost his job at an upscale mall in the Philippines went on a shooting rampage in Manila on Monday, injuring at least one person and holding dozens of other people hostage, before surrendering about 10 hours later, according to police and news reports.

One person was shot and taken to a hospital, Francis Zamora, mayor of the San Juan district, told ANC television after the gunman, identified as 31-year-old Archie Paray, attacked the V-Mallat Greenhills.

All of the hostages were freed, although the number of them was unclear: The mayor initially put the figure at 30, then revised that estimate to as many as 70, and police did not provide a total.

“What is important is that we had zero casualties,” Zamora said. “That was what we wanted. That the hostages can all go out safe. Everyone was in shock, very traumatized; they had to be given time to recover. They were shocked. They really need to rest. There were no injuries except the one who was shot earlier.”

The episode began around 10 am, and the mall’s electronics and clothing stores were sealed off as shoppers were evacuated, while the gunman kept the hostages inside an administrative office.

The gunman was upset that he had been fired from his job at the mall and asked to speak to his former colleagues on a conference call. He requested food and water and had “calmed down a bit,” Zamora said, speaking before the crisis was resolved.

Zamora said the gunman claimed to have a grenade, but police did not confirm that.

Afterward, Paray was allowed to speak to reporters and railed against what he said was corruption in the mall’s security guard rotation, describing himself as a “fall guy.” Representatives of the mall could not immediately be reached for comment.

The impromptu news conference ended after about 20 minutes, when he was tackled by police after motioning as if he were getting something from his waistband. He was then handcuffed and taken into custody.

Management at the mall said the injured man was a security guard at the shopping centre.

WRITER: New York Times
Source: Bangkok Post