News Column

Gunman Kills 8 in Philippines; Suspect Fatally Shot

Jan. 4, 2013

Eight people were killed Friday when a man believed to be drunk and high on illegal drugs went on a shooting rampage in the Philippines, police said.

The suspect, Ronald Bae, was shot dead by police officers after randomly shooting at neighbours in Kawit town in Cavite province, just south of Manila, police said.

The dead included a 3-year-old boy, a 7-year-old girl and a pregnant woman, said Senior Superintendent Alexander Rafael, the province's police director.

Eight people were also being treated for injuries, he said.

Five of the wounded were in critical condition, Cavite Governor Juanito Victor Remulla said.

Bae shot 7-year-old Michaella Andrea and some other victims in the chest, according to Aniolina Caimol, the girl's grandmother.

"We all dropped to the floor when the shooting started," she said after visiting the morgue to identify her granddaughter. "We were all so afraid."

Remulla said police were searching for a man who allegedly helped Bae during the rampage, and the provincial government offered a cash reward for the man's arrest.

"A man identified only as John Paul was seen handing magazines to Bae during the shooting," he told the Manila radio station dzMM.

Bae was "a notorious drug pusher in the town," he added. "I believe he was on drugs, probably suffering from mental damage."

Police were still investigating what triggered the shooting. Neighbours told authorities that Bae had been drinking since Thursday evening.

The shooting came at a time when the public is calling for stricter gun laws after two children were killed and more than 30 wounded from celebratory gunfire on New Year's Eve.

Filipino gun owners are required to register their firearms every year with the police, and according to police records, there are 1.59 million firearms registered nationwide.

But authorities estimated that there are about 610,000 unlicensed around the country.

Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte condemned the shooting rampage: "This incident will certainly fuel the efforts of the police into their drive against loose firearms."

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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