Philippines: Sacked security guard takes hostages at Manila mall

San Juan mayor said approximately 30 people are being held by the gunman.

Philippine police has surrounded a shopping mall in an upscale district of Manila after a gunman opened fire and took several people inside hostage.

The incident happened at the V-Mall in the San Juan area of the Philippine capital on Monday.

San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora told reporters that approximately 30 people are being held by the gunman.

He said the gunman is a disgruntled former security guard who had been removed from his job at the mall. Zamora said the gunman shot one person, who is in stable condition at a nearby hospital.

“He is armed. He has a pistol and has been shouting that he has a grenade, but we have yet to confirm this,” Zamora said at a press conference.

“Right now, his demands are: First, he wants to talk to his fellow guards at the shopping mall, and second, he wants to face the media. But, for now, we have a negotiator who is talking to him, and we have evacuated everyone at the shopping mall. So the perimeter is safe, the area is safe, the mall is already in lockdown.”

Police spokesperson Virgilio Timajo said hundreds of shoppers and employees were evacuated from the mall in Manila’s Greenhills shopping district after gunfire was heard from the second floor. 

Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Lo, reporting from outside the shopping mall, said “everything” is taking place inside the mall management’s office.

The situation has been ongoing for about five hours, Lo said, adding that the hostage-taker is “calm and has asked for food and water” amid negotiations, according to Mayor Zamora.

The hostage-taker was fired from his job “not long ago and he encouraged his former colleagues to join him in sort a mutiny against his former employers, but none of them joined him,” Lo said.

“So he decided today he would come to the mall and he would open fire.” 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES