Police officer nabbed for alleged indiscriminate firing

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Sunday, June 29, 2014


A POLICE station chief arrested an off-duty policeman for indiscriminately firing his service firearm outside a resto bar in Cebu City yesterday morning.

Chief Insp. Wildemar Tiu caught SPO1 Neri Cahimat, who a witness said fired his gun at a pile of sand outside Alcohology bar on Gen. Maxilom Ave.

Cahimat, a desk officer at Mabolo Police Station, may have been too drunk when the incident happened, said Tiu, who saw bottles of brandy and beer on the table of the officer’s group.

“Nagsagol man gud (They mixed their drinks),” said Tiu. “So morag iba ang tama (So he was pretty drunk). What he did was dangerous. Maybe he was teaching his friends, but he forgot he was not in the firing range.”

Had Cahimat, 50, fired the gun in the air, it is possible someone would get hit with the stray bullet, he said.

The bar’s security guard, Rey Requizo, told Tiu that Cahimat was the person he saw who pulled the trigger.

Response

Operatives of the Crime Scene Investigation Unit (CSIU) scoured the area, but they failed to recovered the empty shell and slug.

Interviewed from his detention cell, Cahimat denied he was the one who fired the gun.

“Wa gyod koy kalibotan ana (I don’t know what they are talking about),” he said.

Charged

Cahimat, a police officer for 27 years, will be charged with alarm and scandal and indiscriminate firing before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office. A separate administrative complaint will be filed against him.

Tiu said the liquor test conducted on the police officer and his six companions affirmed they were intoxicated. Cahimat’s friends were released from detention yesterday.

Cahimat surrendered a .45 pistol with eight bullets, but he refused to undergo paraffin test.

When asked by reporters about his reluctance to take a paraffin test, the police officer replied, “Sakit kaayo na (It is painful).”

Tiu said Cahimat has the right to refuse to take the test, but the latter’s firearm was already submitted for an examination.

However, Tiu doubted that Cahimat yielded the wrong gun to him because it did not reek of gun powder.

“His gun is dirty. Once the bullet is fired, the barrel is cleansed,” he said.

Cahimat and his friends were drinking outside the bar before the incident happened around 8:45 a.m.

The head security officer of Mango Square, Jesusito Barbosa Jr., sent a text message to Tiu, informing him about the incident.

Tiu said off-duty police officers are still allowed to carry their firearms so they can respond to any alarm that happened near them. But they must be responsible with handling their guns, he said.

“One should not fire his firearm in the open because it puts the public in danger,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 30, 2014.

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