Cavite shooting rampage leaves 9 dead-A A +A
Friday, January 4, 2013
MANILA (Updated) -- An intoxicated man fatally shot eight people, including a pregnant woman and a seven-year-old girl, before he was shot dead by police Friday, officials said.
At least eight other people were wounded in the shooting rampage in Kawit town, Cavite, said provincial Governor Jonvic Remulla.
He identified the gunman as Ronald Bae, whose age was unclear, though officials said he appeared to be in his 30s or 40s. Bae was killed in a shootout with responding police.
It was not immediately clear why Bae went on the rampage, Remulla said.
The governor said, however, that Bae left his Kawit neighborhood about a year ago after he lost an election for village chairman, and returned Monday due to a "marital problem" with his wife, whom he had left in northern Pampanga province before New Year's.
He said Bae and several friends were on a "drug and alcohol binge" from Monday to Friday, drinking alcohol and taking methamphetamine. Bae left a store where he and his friends were drinking but later returned with his caretaker and began the shooting spree in the surrounding neighborhood, Remulla said.
Remulla said the caretaker of Bae's house in Kawit who was later identified as John Paul Lopez, was seen reloading the gunman's weapon.
According to police investigator Arnulfo Lopez, residents in the area heard Bae threatening to kill the caretaker if he did not reload the gunman's pistol during the shooting.
Police arrested Lopez Friday evening.
Remulla said Bae first killed a man who lived across the street from his house. He also killed the man's dog.
"He just shot at anyone he saw," Remulla said. "You could see that these were really acts of a madman. He even killed the dog."
Bae then shot and killed the seven-year-old girl inside her home and wounded her two younger siblings -- her two-year-old sister and four-year-old brother, who is one of the gunman's godsons.
The two siblings who survived were in critical condition at a hospital. No details were immediately available on the condition of the other victims who were wounded.
The pregnant woman died after being shot in the stomach, Remulla said. Her six-month-old fetus also died.
Television reports said the woman made a frantic call for help to her mother, Baby Alberto, who heard screams and gunshots.
"She said, 'Please, don't! Please don't!'" Alberto quoted her daughter as pleading to the gunman. She said her daughter was found dead in the bathroom hugging her three-year-old daughter, who also died.
Edwin Lacorte, an uncle of the three children who were shot, said he could hear them screaming from his home nearby.
"I could not do anything," he said. "I could hear them screaming and I heard the shots."
Lacorte said that he later saw bullet-riddled cushions that the children had apparently used to protect themselves during the attack.
"It must have been the eldest who covered them with the cushions," he said.
Lacorte said he was at home during the rampage, and that as Bae closed in on his house, he fled with his wife and their four children, two grandchildren and three nieces.
He said had he not been home, "my family would have been wiped out."
Lacorte said he and his family crouched as they ran from the gunman through the muddy former fishpond behind their house.
"He was shooting at us as we were running," he said.
Malacañang condemned the shooting rampage, noting that the carnage will certainly fuel the government’s relentless efforts to clamp down on loose firearms.
In a briefing in Malacañang on Friday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Palace is condemning the attack considering that some of the casualties are children and given the large number of deaths.
“As of the moment, what we can say is that this incident will certainly fuel the efforts of the PNP (Philippine National Police) into its drive against loose firearms,” she said.
Police estimate there are about half a million firearms that are either unlicensed or have expired licenses around the country.
The Cavite Provincial Government has vowed to shoulder the funeral expenses of the victims, reports said. (AP/PNA/Sunnex)