PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Two suspects were shot dead by Malaysian police when they tried to escape after robbing a goldsmith at the Atria Shopping Complex in Petaling Jaya.
According to Selangor Criminal Investigation Department chief Fadzil Ahmad, the incident took place at 5pm on Friday (May 18) after six robbers wearing helmets and jackets stormed into the mall located at the Damansara Jaya area.
"The Petaling Jaya district police were informed of the incident at about 5pm and they headed there immediately," he said.
"When they arrived, they ran into the group of suspects who had robbed the goldsmith and tried to escape with four motorcycles parked outside," he told reporters during a press conference held outside the mall.
He said that the suspects first fired towards the police, leaving them no choice but to retaliate.
A shootout ensued and as a result, two suspects were shot dead, while another suspect was injured.
Four suspects, including the one injured, were arrested by the police for further investigations.
"We have also confiscated a semi-auto pistol, a revolver, an air gun and hammers," he added.
He said that the suspects are part of a crime syndicate, which has been active in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Negeri Sembilan since 2017.
"So far, this group is involved in eight goldsmith robbery cases since last year. We believe there are other suspects who are still at large and we are hunting them," he added.
No police officers were injured from the shootout.
A witness, who wished to remain anonymous, saw the suspects carrying hammers and black-coloured bags into the mall.
"They were walking slowly and once they were inside the mall, they ran towards the goldsmith," he said. "When we heard the sound of breaking glass, we ran towards a storeroom and hid."
Senior Asst Commissioner Fadzil said that the police have not ruled out that the robbery was an inside job, as investigations are ongoing.
He said that the stolen jewellery has been recovered by the police and the goldsmith is trying to ascertain the total value of losses incurred from the incident.
Another witness, tech journalist Sharmila Ganapathy, said she heard the shots coming from a goldsmith shop on the ground floor at about 5.15pm.
Twitter user Ridhwa Huda posted a tweet at 5.27 pm saying she had witnessed an exchange of gunfire between police and unknown persons.
"Oh my God. Police are shooting live in front of us. My heart feels like falling out," she wrote in Malay.
"At Atria mall. Thought people were playing firecrackers. But seems like (a) real pistol," she added. "Wanted to go home, but police warned 'Don't go out'."