A hostage situation at Greenhills Shopping Center’s Virra Mall finally came to an end after nine hours, following negotiations from San Juan Police, with the gunman ultimately surrendering and being taken into custody.
Hostage-taker and former security guard Alchie Paray released the roughly 30 hostages he had sequestered in the administration office of the mall’s second floor after negotiators allegedly complied with his unspecified demands, Rappler reports.
Just hours ago, Paray’s former superiors publicly apologized and said they were resigning in an effort to defuse the situation.
According to authorities, Paray walked out the mall, along with his hostages, after agreeing to leave his weapons behind as part of the negotiations.
Upon his exit, members of a SWAT team at the scene tackled Paray as he turned to address the media and authorities, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports.
Details were scarce as of press time, but earlier in the day the gunman had taken dozens hostages inside the popular bargain spot inside the Greenhills Shopping Complex in San Juan City at noon, the city’s mayor confirmed.
San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora told ANC that the ongoing hostage situation was the work of a “disgruntled” and as-yet unidentified security guard who was believed to be carrying firearms and a grenade.
Zamora said the security guard, who was fired from the mall, “today tried to come back and make some demands, he was trying to convince some of the other guards to join him. It was some sort of coup d’etat towards the mall management.”
The efforts to win others to his side reportedly failed, however, sparking the hostage situation.
Eastern Police District Police Chief Corporal Christopher Jan Lagunilla told CNN Philippines that the former security guard took around 30 hostages inside Virra Mall’s mall administration office on the second floor, and mall employees immediately closed shop at around 11am after hearing a gunshot.
According to an ABS-CBN photographer on the scene, some of the malls’ doors were sealed off as authorities evacuated the building. A police vehicle and onlookers were seen huddled at the mall’s entrance following the evacuation.
Greenhills Mall, which manages the property, confirmed in a statement that the hostage-taker had injured a fellow security guard, who was later brought to the hospital. It urged everyone to “exercise caution in sharing unconfirmed information online,” and said it was working with authorities to “handle the situation.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to erroneous early reports, the hostage-taker was incorrectly identified as Archie Paray. He has since been identified as Alchie Paray Y Pedraza. This story has been updated to reflect the latest information.
This article, UPDATED: Hostage crisis at Greenhills mall ends as gunman surrenders, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!