A security guard talks to a store employee as a section of the SM department store is cordoned after a robbery incident at SM City North EDSA. Photo by Patrick Pascual for ANC
MANILA -- (UPDATE 3) Two weekends before Christmas, suspected members of the Martilyo Gang struck inside a crowded SM City North EDSA at past 7 p.m. on Sunday.
The SM mall said in a statement that the police are now on top of the situation and that no one was hurt in the incident.
"There is a 'Martilyo Gang' robbery in a store in North EDSA. The police are on top of the situation and handling the matter. No one was hurt. The only weapon used was a martilyo. The mall remains open," the statement said.
While mall operations returned to normal after the incident, the SM Department Store, where the suspects smashed a jewelry display, remained cordoned off for investigation.
At around 7 p.m. on Sunday, alleged gun shots were heard by shoppers inside the mall, resulting in a commotion when somebody allegedly shouted that someone was carrying a bomb and a gun.
The shoppers were asked to move to the parking lot and outside the mall.
Initial advisory from the Quezon City Police District said two to three persons were involved in the incident, and a hammer was recovered in the crime scene.
Mallgoer Dr. Babes Arce said she and her family were in the second floor of the mall when they heard gunshots from the ground floor.
"Nandito kami sa second floor ng SM North EDSA may narinig kaming isang loud shot. Alam ko baril 'yun e. Tapos nag-scamper na ang mga tao, nag-run to safety sa isang kainan habang narinig ko 'yung mga iba pang shots ng baril," Arce who was still in the mall while being interviewed on radio dzMM. "After a few minutes, medyo naglabasan na 'yung ibang tao, nagkaroon uli ng putukan dito, bumalik uli kami sa isang kainan,"
Arce, a gun owner herself, and her family were still hiding when interviewed on dzMM.
However, Arch. Rene Bacani, assistant vice president for operations of the SM mall, told dzMM that there was no gunshot and that what the shoppers heard was the sound of the hammer smashing the jewelry display.
The authorities cordoned off the crime scene. – Reports from Henry Atuelan, Johnson Manabat, and Jun Lingcoran, dzMM