NBI: Gunman in Cebu court attack not shot by policemen-A A +A
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
MANILA -- The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Central Visayas said Canadian national John Pope was not shot by responding policemen, contrary to earlier reports.
Prepared by agent Bernard dela Cruz, the NBI said Pope was found dead at the stairs of the ground floor of the Palace of Justice in Cebu City with gunshot wound to the head.
"He allegedly shot himself according to PNP, Soco (Scene of the Crime Operative)-7. Recovered from him is a 6-shot 357 revolver with four bullets spent. He was declared dead and the dead body was brought by the PNP, Soco-7, Cebu City," the two-page report stated without mentioning anything about two policemen who supposedly shot Pope in the leg before he took his life.
Prior to his death, Pope killed Dr. Rene Rafols and his lawyer Juvian Achas, while a hearing on a case against the shooter was going on at the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) branch 6.
According to the NBI, Pope arrived at the Palace of Justice around 8:10 a.m. Tuesday, wearing jogging pants, long white sweat shirt and with a body bag.
Quoting security guard Wilfredo Purola, the agency said Pope was frisked and his bag was inspected.
Pope then proceeded to MTCC branch 6, where he is facing charges of malicious mischief.
"According to Prosecutor Noel Cellona (who handles the malicious mischief case), subject John Pope even greeted him when they chance to meet at the stair near the court room. Prosecutor Cellona noticed nothing unusual to (sic) subject Pope. Inside the court room, he saw private prosecutor Achas seated at the first row, Dr. Rafols at the second row while subject Pope was seated at the third row," the report read.
Few minutes before the trial started around 8:30 a.m., Cellona said he heard two successive gunshots. He said he saw Rafols and Achas lying dead on the floor as he immediately ran toward the door leading to the judge’s office.
After shooting the victims, Pope left the courtroom and proceeded to MTCC branch 1, where he is a respondent in a grave threat case.
From there, he accidentally met Assistant Prosecutor Maria Theresa Casiño, who was shot in the neck. Casiño is assigned to handle Pope’s case at the MTCC branch 1, which is 50 meters away from branch 6.
The NBI said it probed the crime following a request from Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
The Department of Justice, which has supervision of prosecutors, denounced the incident.
"There is never a reason for violence or cause for disregard of life. While the shooter reportedly killed himself, a careful investigation is on course to meet the ends of justice and to prevent similar incidents from happening again and again," said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)