Talks go on as dozens remain captive by ex-security guard in Greenhills mall | Inquirer News
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Talks go on as dozens remain captive by ex-security guard in Greenhills mall

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 04:10 PM March 02, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Negotiations have been ongoing for more than five hours between authorities and the allegedly disgruntled former security guard, who took hostage at least 30 persons inside a popular shopping mall in San Juan City on Monday.

The police, however, were still optimistic the amok guard would yield soon as he communicated his demands to them.

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Mayor Francis Zamora said suspect Archie Paray might have “calmed down” after demanding provisions of food and water for the hostages, who were still locked up on the second-floor administration office of Virra Mall or V Mall in Greenhills as of this posting.  The mall is well-liked by shoppers looking for bargains, electronics, and toys.

The management of the Greenhills shopping center confirmed that the suspect was a former security personnel contracted under Safeguard Armor Security (SAS) Corp., based in Malate, Manila.

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A security guard identified in a police report as Ronald Velita was injured after being shot by the suspect. He was rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Zamora said they were being cautious with their next actions as the suspect claimed he was equipped not only with a pistol but also grenades. Authorities, however, have yet to verify that threat.

Based on an initial report to the mayor, the suspect went to V Mall’s administration office around 10 a.m., poked a gun at one of the employees, and then declared that he’s taking hostage the entire office.

According to Zamora, even before the hostage-taking took place, the suspect even asked his fellow guards to go with him in a sort of coup d’etat against the mall management. No one, however, joined him.

According to Zamora, the ex-security guard went AWOL (absent without leave) for weeks before he was dismissed from SAS Corp. security agency.

“Seems like he believes that he was done an injustice, maybe by the security agency or the mall management. Maybe he wanted to air his grievances to his fellow guards,” Zamora told reporters. “He expressed disgust on what happened to him.”

Several family members of V Mall employees still held inside rushed to the shopping center upon learning of the hostage-taking from the news.

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Alma said her daughter, 22-year-old Pauline, was still inside the mall and had not returned their calls since Monday morning.

She appealed to the suspect, “If you have problems, let us discuss it peacefully. Free your captives and don’t hurt anybody there.”

Zamora has asked the public not to go near the mall.

Other mall employees, however, opted to stay around the vicinity and waited for the situation to return to normal, afraid that their stalls might get ransacked once the mall reopens.

People were already evacuated from the mall, which has been placed on lockdown since noon today.

“We will do our best to settle this issue peacefully to make sure na walang masaktan (that nobody gets hurt). We will exert all effort to ensure that one will get hurt,” Zamora said.

“Umasa kayo na gagawin namin ang lahat para maresolba ito nang maayos at tahimik,” he added.

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TAGS: Crime, Greenhills, Hostage, Local news, Metro, metro news, News, Philippine news updates, San Juan City, V-Mall, Virra Mall
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