Two policemen were killed in a shootout that followed a buy-bust operation at a Commonwealth Avenue mall in Quezon City.
The gunfight ensued between police and still unidentified gunmen near the Ever Gotesco Mall, with tweets posted by GMA News indicating that members of the QCPD District Special Operations Unit conducted the anti-drug operation at a fast food joint in the area.
The team leader of the QCPD-DSOU group was rushed to a hospital after getting wounded in the incident, GMA News said.
Information from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority showed the incident began at 6:08 p.m., shutting down the busy avenue's eastbound lane.
The shooting sent bystanders scampering for safety and halted traffic on the major thoroughfare.
ABS-CBN News also indicated that agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency were in the area.
Sen. Richard Gordon, also head of the Philippine Red Cross, said the shooting happened near an overpass fronting a mall, with at least two police officers reportedly hurt.
"We already coordinated with QC Police Stations 5 & 6 and dispatched medic team to provide immediate assistance. Keep safe everyone," he said in a tweet.
In a statement, Ever Gotesco mall said shoppers were safe inside its premises as the shooting went on and asked the public to avoid unconfirmed information online.
"We have confirmed reports of a shootout that happened earlier outside of Ever Commonwealth. We have secured all access to the mall so all shoppers are safe inside," it said.
"Our priority right now is to ensure the safety of the employees and the public. The management is closely coordinating with the PNP of the current situation. Please bear with us as we allow the authorities to handle the situation. For now, we hope for everyone’s cooperation to exercise caution in sharing unconfirmed information online," it said.
In videos captured by ABS-CBN News, bystanders could be seen seeking safety as gunshots could be heard in the background.