Canadian kills two people in Philippines courtroom
By Kollin Lore
Two people were killed after a Canadian man opened fire in a courtroom in the Philippines on Tuesday.
The gunman, John Pope, 63, was on trial for malicious mischief, and both the physician who sued him along with a lawyer were shot dead, the CBC reported.
According to a report by the Manila Times, Pope also injured a government prosecutor after turning the pistol on other people in the courtroom, he was later shot and wounded in the melee.
Pope was born in the U.S. before he obtained a Canadian passport, CBC reported, adding that it’s not yet known where the passport was issued.
The hearings, which are in the central city of Cebu on the island of the same name, were suspended for the day reported the Philippine Star.
Regional Police Chief, Marcelo Garbo, told local DZBB radio as reported by the Manila Times, he would not give further details on the criminal case against Pope, and investigations on how the gun was brought into the courtroom are still being investigated.
The incident follows several shootings in the Philippines over the past couple of weeks, including gunfire amongst New Year revelers that killed two children.
A few days later, seven people were killed by a gunman, south of Manila, including a pregnant woman and a child.
Last year, there were 1.2 million registered firearms in the Philippines, with another 600,000 unlicensed firearms in circulation, according to police data in the Philippine news.
In response, a ban on firearms was put into force on January 20, but it will end on June 13 – one month following mid-term elections in May.
The courtroom incident only heightens concern in the Philippines as the debate for stricter gun control rages on.