CEBU, Philippines: A Canadian involved in legal disputes with his neighbours shot dead two people yesterday in a courtroom rampage in the central Philippines before killing himself, police said.
John Pope, 66, a former journalist, arrived with two hidden pistols at a courtroom that was hearing a case against him for “mischief”, said Senior Superintendent Mariano Natuel, police chief of Cebu city.
He then shot the complainant, a Cebu physician, and the victim’s lawyer, Natuel told reporters.
“The shootings lasted 10 minutes as he walked from the fourth floor to the ground floor,” the police chief added.
After the first shootings, Pope proceeded to another courtroom on the second floor of the government building and shot and wounded a government prosecutor, Natuel said.
He then walked to the offices of state prosecutors on the ground floor looking for another person. The person was not inside so he rushed out into the hallway where he encountered two police officers, the police chief added.
“The officers shot him on the hand and thigh, after which he fell and turned his gun on himself,” Natuel said.
Pope was later pronounced dead at a hospital with a gunshot wound to the temple as well as to his left wrist and both thighs.
“We have witnesses saying he hid one gun in his armpit,” Natuel said of the suspect, adding that police later recovered a second handgun on his body.
Natuel said the wounded prosecutor was handling a separate case filed against Pope for making “grave threats” against another person. He said Pope was being tried in Cebu courts in at least eight cases arising from various disputes with several of his neighbours, including the murdered doctor.
“Neighbours have petitioned the government to have him deported, including (the doctor) who is the president of the homeowners’ association,” Natuel said.
He said Pope had been in the country for 14 years, but police did not immediately know his Canadian home town or the name of his previous employers.