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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 February 2008, 08:06 GMT
'Shots fired' in city restaurant
The Mailbox building
The Mailbox building contains shops, restaurants and apartments
Armed police sealed off a restaurant in a Birmingham retail centre after a number of shots were fired.

A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said officers were called to a firearms incident in the Mailbox shopping complex in the city at 2145 GMT.

One witness said he heard a volley of shots and saw people running from Cafe Lazeez, an Asian cuisine restaurant.

"A number of shots were discharged. There are no reports of anyone injured at this stage," police said.

'Cool as cucumbers'

One customer, who did not want to be named, told the BBC: "Three or four blokes walked in, and two minutes later at least 10 to 15 shots rang out.

"My instinct, obviously, was to run out of there.

I could see people clambering over each other like ants, trying to get out

"They walked out. Not only did they walk in cool as cucumbers, they walked out cool as cucumbers.

"But once they were out of the restaurant, they ran like rabbits."

Another witness, an employee of BBC Birmingham - which is based in the Mailbox - said: "I heard a vibration through the floor.

"I went over to the window which overlooks the restaurant and could see people clambering over each other like ants, trying to get out.

"People were fleeing in desperation. It looked like they were running for their lives.

"Initially I thought an explosive device had been detonated in there because that's what it felt like."

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: "We attended the scene at 2148. When we arrived we took instructions from police and did not enter the restaurant.

"We were later stood down and have not treated anyone."

People are still being allowed into the Mailbox.

The complex also houses Harvey Nichols, offices and retail outlets as well as restaurants, two hotels and 144 apartments.

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