On Tuesday January 22, 2013 a man entered a courtroom in Cebu city, Philippines and shot to death his neighbour with whom he was engaged in an ongoing dispute, killing a lawyer and wounding another government prosecutor. He was then killed by police in a gun battle or may have committed suicide after being wounded as reports are unclear.
He was in court to face illegal possession of firearms and other charges in central Cebu City, where he lived, when he pulled out a gun. He then shot and killed a lawyer, Giovanni Achas, and Dr. Reynold Rafols, who had filed a case against him, reports said.
Authorities say he later shot and seriously wounded an assistant prosecutor in a courthouse stairway, freelance journalist Simone Orendain reported from the Philippines.
"Pope, who was described as a retired journalist, was facing charges of illegal possession of firearms," Orendain reported for CBC News. "In May 2011, his neighbour, the surgeon Dr. Reynold Rafols, told local media he had filed charges of 'malicious mischief' against Pope."
Cebu City police confirmed that Pope had a previous charge of "malicious mischief".
There are conflicting reports of how he died:
After shooting the prosecutor, it is unclear how Pope was killed.
Police told the Associated Press that Pope was shot and killed by police. But other reports say Pope killed himself after being wounded by responding officers.
Cebu's Sun Star newspaper, citing the National Bureau of Investigation in the Visayas region of the Philippines, reports that two officers shot Pope in the leg before the Canadian shot himself in the head.
Cebu City police told CBC News that Pope had a gunshot wound in the temple, but no one witnessed him shooting himself. Police would not confirm reports that officers shot Pope in the leg.
He was carrying two weapons (neither of which was an AR-15 or a variant so no joy there) but he did have two illegal handguns and was before the courts on weapons charges as well as threats with a weapon. He claimed previously to need the firearms for self-defence and against some sort of conspiracy against him.
On Tuesday, Pope was carrying two firearms — a .357 revolver that he used to shoot the three, and another .45 pistol that police later seized from his bag, the Philippine Star reported.
Cebu City police said it was standard policy to search people when entering the courthouse and couldn't confirm how Pope brought a gun into the courtroom.
Local media mentioned Pope in 2011, when he was held by police on charges of illegal possession of firearms. The same physician who was killed in Tuesday's shooting accused Pope, his neighbour, of brandishing a weapon and threatening him and other residents in their condominium complex.
Pope was arrested and charged after showing up at Rafols's clinic with a handgun.
Pope had been quoted as saying at the time that the pistol he was carrying was for self-defence.
"I wanted to be prepared," Pope said to ABS-CBN News in the Philippines last year. "This guy, Rafols, once came to my apartment at 2 o'clock in the morning with two armed police officers and an armed bodyguard with their guns out and swung a baseball bat inches from my face."
The man was identified by Philippine authorities as 63-year-old John Pope, born in St. Cloud, Minn. who was on a Canadian passport and living in the Philippines with his Filipino wife and children.
He had worked as a journalist for the Prince George Citizen in British Columbia abck in the late 1970's and 1980's. According to reports of some former co-workers at the newspaper he was little off and had a fascination with guns.
Former colleagues at the Citizen had starkly different memories of Pope -- some said he was a good friend and very loyal, while others said he was troubled and unhappy.
"It was black or white, right or wrong with him, there was no middle ground," photographer Brock Gable recalled. "You were either his friend or you didn't exist."
Former Citizen features editor Doug Martin remembered Pope as a big, physical man who would work out at the boxing club, but he also said Pope had a dark side.
"He was a very unhappy guy, a troubled guy," Martin said. "He was kind of a crazy man."
One night Martin said he got a phone call from Pope, who sounded agitated.
"He said, 'I'll come to your house, it's a matter of life or death,' " Martin recalled. "That didn't sound like a good idea to me, I didn't want him around my house."
Martin agreed to meet with Pope on the street and said the reporter had a wild look in his eyes.
"He's all upset and he said, 'I've got to kill Doug Weller, a photographer,' " Martin said. "I managed to talk him out of it."
Other staff members from the era remember Pope being a bit weird, with one describing him as a bit of a gun nut who was teased by fellow reporters over his love of firearms.
(Reporter Bernice) Trick said he was a bit odd, but not any more so than the other colourful personalities in the business.
"He wouldn't be someone you would fear," she said.
Martin said he and some other former colleagues felt differently.
"He seemed like a prime candidate to pull out a gun and shoot us all," Martin said.
"We laughed about it. Maybe we shouldn't have."
CBC reports that Pope claimed that the court case against him was result of a conspiracy cooked up by his neighbour, a doctor and that he was writing an expose detailing his claims that he was sending around to various media.
Pope also wrote an unpublished manuscript titled "Justice Denied," and had been sending parts of it to local newspapers and television stations for some time, Cebu Daily News editor in chief Eileen Mangubat told CBC News.
She added that Pope had been documenting his several run-ins with the law.
The incident has led to an increased call for stricter gun control in the Philippines.
See what I mean about covering the bases with this this one.
- Takes place in a foreign country (so 'Murican gun apologists can say "See it happens everywhere)
- Crazy guy
- Past evidence of a troubled person
- Conspiracy claimed
- Gun loon
- Mass shooting
- Conflicting media reports
- Illegal weapons
- Claimed weapons needed for self-defence
- "Gubmint" taking away firearms
- Shooting in a government building
- Dead complainant bringing legal action against said crazy guy
- Dead doctor
- Dead lawyer and another seriously wounded (no cheering please)
- Shot by cops and/or committed suicide
- Calls for stricter gun control
No further gun threads needed, amirite???
Edited by Wetcoaster, 23 January 2013 - 12:13 PM.