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Lockdown at Megamall after shots fired during robbery

A police SWAT team member responds to the robbery at SM Megamall as people watch from inside the locked down mall. (photo by Paulo Vecina, InterAksyon.com)

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE 6 - 9:33 p.m.) The SM Megamall went on lockdown Saturday evening after shots were fired during what the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said was a robbery at the department store.

A tweet from @smsupermalls said: 'Robbery at jewelry counter SM Megamall. No casualties.'

Mandaluyong police immediately tagged the so-called "Martilyo (hammer) Gang" to the incident and said the robbers had fired the shots to cause a panic to cover their escape.


Panicked shoppers run for safety inside the SM Megamall after shots were fired during a jewelry counter robbery at the department store. (photo by Paulo Vecina, InterAksyon.com)

Eastern Police District director Chief Superintendent Manuel Laurel told News5 there were four robbers and that one of them was wounded, although he did not explain how this had happened.

InterAksyon.com's infotech editor, Jing Garcia, reported that he and his young daughter were at Toy Kingdom when the shots were fired between 7:20-7:23 p.m.

"From inside Toy Kingdom, we heard a commotion and people were shouting outside the store, but when I tried to go out, pinagbawalan na ako ng guard kasi nag-lockdown na 'yung store (the guard would not let me because the store went on lockdown)," Garcia said, adding they were kept inside the toy store for about half an hour. "Through the store window, all I saw was people running all over, even on the escalators."

 Shoppers hurry to safety past locked down stores after shots were fired when robbers struck a jewelry counter inside the SM Megamall department store. (photo by Jing Garcia, InterAksyon.com)
Shoppers hurry to safety past locked down stores after shots were fired when robbers struck a jewelry counter inside the SM Megamall department store. (photo by Jing Garcia, InterAksyon.com)

An aunt of an InterAksyon reporter who was at the mall when the robbery happened said there was a gunman on each floor of the department and the glass cases of the jewelry counter were broken as shots were fired into the air.

@marcel41 tweeted that he and his girlfriend were at the third floor when the incident happened and that the stampede reached the ground floor of the supermarket.

He said there were elderly people stumbling during the stampede but that he couldn't stop because he was trying to protect his girlfriend.

Security personnel outside SM Megamall after shots were fired when robbers struck a jewelry counter. (photo by Jing Garcia)
Security personnel outside SM Megamall after shots were fired when robbers struck a jewelry counter. (photo by Jing Garcia)

Annie Garcia, president of SM Supermalls, said Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos rushed to the mall and was "assuring the public of their safety."

Garcia announced that the situation was "back to normal" around 9 p.m.


A crowd builds up outside SM Megamall after a robbery at a jewelry counter during which shots were fired. (photo by Jing Garcia, InterAksyon.com)

She said they would review videotape from the mall's closed circuit televisions "to find out where and how a man with a gun was able to get in."

This is the third incident since September 2011, when a woman shot her husband and a security guard at SM North Edsa and two young men died in an apparent suicide pact in SM Pampanga, that  violence involving firearms has happened in an SM mall.

And in 2010, a similar incident involving robbers smashing a jewelry counter, happened at SM Bicutan.


Policemen stand outside the department store of SM Megamall after robbers struck a jewelry counter. (photo by Paulo Vecina, InterAksyon.com)

Garcia said SM Megamall "will be augmenting its security forces and be stricter in their examination of bags of people entering their malls."

Here is what netizens tweeted about the incident.

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