Shooting in Megamall causes panic

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(5th UPDATE) Nobody is hurt in the shooting incident that caused mild panic in one of the world's biggest shopping malls. Initial reports indicate that the group responsible is the 'Martilyo Gang'

MANILA, Philippines (5th UPDATE) – Everything is under control.

Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos announced on DZMM that the reported shooting incident inside SM Megamall on Saturday, January 26, was prompted by a robbery at a jewelry counter which was on the ground floor.

Kung may mga kamag-anak na nasa loob ng Megamall, huwag ho kayong mag-alala. Everything is under control,” he said. (If you have relatives inside Megamall, don’t worry. Everything is under control.) This was at about 8:30 pm, close to an hour after the initial report of a hold-up in the depatment store.

FAST FACTS: Richest, biggest, most valuable and SM Megamall.

Nobody was hurt, he said, confirming an earlier report tweeted by @smsupermalls at about 8:14 pm:

Operations are still ongoing to catch the 5 suspects involved in the incident, Mandaluyong police Senior Supt Florendo Quibuyen told DZMM.  

In an interview with ANC, SM Supermalls president Annie Garcia said the robbery happened “quickly.”

To gain access to the jewelry counter, Garcia said the suspects used a hammer that was purchased inside the mall. But Eastern Police District director Chief Supt Miguel Laurel said in a later interview on ANC the suspects used a pipe wrench and not a hammer to break the glass casing.

He also said they were looking at 4-5 suspects who were wearing ordinary clothes and were not in costume. The shooting incident coincided with an Otaku Expo at Megamall, which required participants to come in costume.

Authorities are now reviewing the CCTV footage of SM Megamall. Laurel said the CCTV captured a clear image of two of the suspects, none of whom wore masks.

In a press statement, the management of SM Supermalls said they deeply regret the robbery incident at a jewelry counter inside the SM Department Store at 7:26 pm.

“Initial reports indicate that the group responsible is the ‘Martilyo Gang.’ They pounded the jewelry fixtures, broke the glass and stole an undetermined amount of jewelry before escaping. A gunshot was reportedly fired at the ceiling but no one was hurt. We would like to assure the public that the management has further beefed up security. We apologized for the scare that the incident may have caused,” the SM management said.

There is no estimate yet of how much the stolen jewelry is worth. The suspects blended with the crowd after they cleared a way for themselves. Mall security failed to catch up with them, even as one was reported to be injured.

Earlier, the Metro Manila Development Authority reported a hold-up incident inside SM Megamall at 7:40 pm.

GMA News also initially reported that there were 5 gunshots heard and that shoppers were running in the direction of Julia Vargas in Ortigas Center. But Laurel later disputed this, saying there were only two shots fired.

@atornitubi tweeted a photo, showing shutters of stores being pulled down to protect customers.

In the middle of the confusion, @mikkeymari warned the shooter could be somewhere on the 4th floor:

In about an hour, it was back to normal in the shopping mall, but suspects have yet to be identified. –

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