A SECURITY guard dismissed from a shopping mall in Greenhills, San Juan yesterday shot a colleague and took hostage at least 20 persons inside the V-Mall.
In the course of almost 10 hours of negotiations, Archie Paray, 31, released several hostages and finally surrendered to San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora at a little past 8 p.m.
The security guard who was shot was in stable condition at a hospital, said Zamora.
Zamora said Paray was sacked by the company that provides security for the mall and had tried to get other guards involved in what he said was “some sort of coup d’état against the mall management.”
The hostage-taking incident started at around 11 a.m. At around 7 p.m., police officials held a news conference where six security officials apologized to Paray and said they were ready to resign if it wound end the hostage incident.
Paray entered V-Mall’s administration office armed with a pistol and was shouting that he was carrying a grenade, according to Zamora.
Paray later gave assurances that the hostages would be released without harm, provided that the authorities did not try to trick him.
A SWAT team was seen entering the four-storey V-Mall as shoppers were evacuated and crowds of media gathered behind a security cordon.
Among Paray’s demands was the opportunity to speak to former colleagues and to media by video call. Negotiators agreed.
Late in the afternoon, a guard held up a smartphone to media during which the gunman panned his camera around the room to show that the hostages were alive. He declined to say how many he was holding.
“Just wait, they will come out alive,” he said.
Mall staff later handed out a few radios to reporters to allow them to ask Paray questions.
Paray asked his superiors to apologize to him.
Appearing in the press conference were Ferdinand Solina, head of corporate safe and security of Greenhills Mall; Salvador Capadocia, mall security coordinator; Henry Tuazon, field officer of Safeguard Armor Security Corp. (Sascor); Oscar Hernandez, Sascor general manager; Villamor Ruiz, director for operations; and Frederick Gravador, Sascor assistant director.
They said Paray was not happy with the rotation schedule.
The wounded security guard, Ronald Deleta, is confined at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan.
Zamora told Paray he can guarantee his safety if he releases his hostages and surrenders.
At around 7:20 p.m., Paray released a female hostage, followed by another hostage at 8:10 p.m. – With Reuter