We’ve got breaking news, and not of the good kind.
We’ve got CONFIRMED reports of a robbery shootout inside the SM Megamall premises.
At around 7:30pm, January 26 GMT+8, mall customers were shocked and surprised to hear gunshots resounding the walls of the department store of SM Megamall. This prompted the customers and the employees to evacuate the premises through the guidance of the security guards. Our Otakultura team was on site at the ground floor when the events happened. After seeing the people storm out of the mall premises, the team followed suit and has waited outside of the mall since then.
Currently, no one is allowed to re-enter the mall premises. The local police and SWAT Teams have already stormed the said mall, and is still apprehending the suspects supposedly hiding inside the premises. Outside, security guards have already been ordered to cordon off people from entering the premises, and have already loaded their shotguns just in case the apprehension spills over outside. The mall area has not been declared safe as of this writing.
We have yet to hear from Otaku Expo attendees regarding the matter.
To all attendees, friends, families, and everyone else in Otaku Expo and SM Megamall, PLEASE STAY SAFE. EXERCISE CAUTION. AND COOPERATE WITH THE AUTHORITIES TO PREVENT COMPLICATIONS.
UPDATE: GMA NEWS has posted this update regarding the shootout:
BREAKING: As of 7:40 PM, a hold-up incident was reported inside SM Megamall. Members of “Martilyo Gang” are allegedly behind the shootout in SM Megamall, says Mandaluyong police.
Source inside SM Megamall says he heard 5 gunshots, shoppers ran towards Julia Vargas. Traffic heavy in the area. No one was hurt in alleged robbery, according to Mandaluyong police.
UPDATE 2: DZMM reports that the target shop was located in the Department Store.
UPDATE 3: We are getting uncofirmed rumors that the suspects were wearing costumes?! This according to DZMM Twitter
UPDATE 3: Mayor Benhur Abalos tells DZMM listeners not to worry, and that the situation is already under control.
UPDATE 4: No suspect has been apprehended, according to DZMM. The suspects were last spotted in the 4th floor of the mall premises. The jewelry store targeted was FNC Jewelry Store, located in Building B of SM Megamall.
UPDATE 5: Currently, only Building B is cordoned off to the general public. Building A is business as usual.
UNCONFIRMED: There have been unconfirmed reports that the suspects have already escaped apprehension by exiting the mall premises via 3rd floor parking.
UPDATE 6: Store operations have resumed in Mega B of SM Megamall as of 9:00pm. Some stores have already closed up shop. The only area cordoned off by the police and security is the affected area. Mall goers have now been allowed re-entry into the building. All cars leaving the premises are being thoroughly checked before leaving the mall premises
UPDATE 7: According to DZMM, the alleged robbers were NOT IN COSTUME, but wearing white polo/shirt. The hammer used in the robber was left in the crime scene, and was purchased from Megamall’s Ace Hardware. Authorities are now checking the CCTV footage for more info. ANC also confirms this via an interview with C/Supt Miguel Laurel. The suspects were wearing plain shirt and denim pants, no masks. One of the suspects was wounded due to the breaking of the glass cases. The wounded suspect immediately fled the scene. Allegedly, the suspects were able to blend with the customers fleeing the Megamall premises, by going to the parking area from the lower ground floor.
Cosplay veterans Gerard Sison and Tim Villasor from Justice PH were the “Batman” and “Superman” cosplayers being mentioned previously by @YahooPH.
Gerard Sison, via a colleague, said this statement: “Careless tweeters trying to link us to robbery Tsk tsk. Be responsible social mediums please.”
In this Instagram post by Tim Villasor (to which we can also find Sir Gerard Sison’s statement): Batman and Superman even helped quell and calm down the evacuees outside Megamall.
UPDATE 9: Otaku Expo Day 2 is cancelled, according to a post by Onegai Oniichan Figure Shop.
Hi everyone. Due to the shooting incident earlier at Megamall, day 2 of Otaku Expo is cancelled (official news from the organizers). We are all safe. Thank you for the concern and support. For those with meetups with us tomorrow, they will be rescheduled to another time. We’re sorry for this very unexpected development. Keep safe everyone.
We will resume regular operations tomorrow (new items, page updates, etc.), except for meetups.