A gunman armed with a semi-automatic pistol killed seven people and wounded 11 as he rampaged through a slum on the outskirts of the Philippine capital yesterday, authorities said.
The ordeal, which took place in a rundown residential area and a market about 40km south of Manila, ended when the gunman died in a gunbattle with police, investigating officer Arnulfo Lopez said.
“It was random. He would fire at anybody who crossed his path,” Lopez said.
A seven-year-old girl was one of the people killed, with four other children among the wounded, he added.
He identified the suspect as Ronaldo Bae, a middle-aged man who had once contested and lost an election for the post of local village chief.
Lopez said no motive for the killings had yet been determined, but residents said Bai had been drinking heavily on Thursday night. They said the rampage began near Bae’s home, in a rundown part of Kawit, Cavite, and nearby neighbors were among those killed.
“He was running swiftly and waving his gun ... I told my children and grandchildren to run,” said Maita Lacorte, one of Bae’s neighbors and the aunt of the dead seven-year-old girl.
Lopez said Bae shot dead the girl in her home.
Another neighbor, 56-year-old Alberto Fernandez, was also shot as he stood on his porch, said the victim’s brother-in-law, Lito Ronquillo.
Ronquillo spoke to reporters in the narrow street where the initial shootings took place. A bullet hole could be seen in a window above the porch where Fernandez died.
Bae then walked toward a nearby market, shooting more people before returning home where police demanded he surrender, Lopez said.
“He opened fire on the police. So a gunbattle ensued which resulted in the death of the suspect,” Lopez said.
He said the four other confirmed fatalities were adults.
Bae’s household caretaker, identified as “John Paul,” accompanied Bae during his rampage and was seen reloading his gun, Lopez said.
A manhunt had been launched for the accomplice, Lopez said.
Yesterday’s shooting comes amid a debate over the country’s lawless gun culture, which was sparked by the death of a seven-year-old girl who was shot in the head by celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve.
Stephanie Ella and her father were watching a fireworks display outside their home in Caloocan City, Metro Manila, on Monday when a bullet, fired by a person welcoming in the New Year, hit her.