MANILA, Philippines - A high school student, who was about to buy load for his cell phone, was shot dead by one of three off-duty rookie policemen who were reportedly chasing another armed teenager in Caloocan City Friday night.
James Fritz Pagar, 17, was declared dead on arrival at the Manila Central University (MCU) Hospital from a gunshot wound in the abdomen, according to city police investigation head Chief Inspector Rodrigo Soriano.
Thirteen-year-old Chris Ryan Garcia remains confined at the MCU Hospital for bullet wounds in the left eye and left shoulder while Mark Kevin Lintag, 17, sustained at least six gunshot wounds in the body and is confined at the Dr. Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center.
According to Senior Police Officer 3 Joel Montebon, three police officers – PO1 Jeffrey Antonio of the Aviation Security Group, PO1 Orlando de Leon of the Northern Police District and PO1 Jefferson Chua of the Pasay City police – were drinking on the sidewalk along Progreso street in Barangay 141 when they spotted a boy lugging a sword, later identified as Lintag, walk past them.
When the policemen called out to him, the boy allegedly ran away. Pagar’s uncle, Ryan Abad, 21, identified De Leon as the one who allegedly accosted the sword-wielding boy and shot at him as he ran at around 8:30 p.m.
Pagar – who had just arrived from Caloocan High School, where he is a fourth year high school student – was out to buy some load for his cell phone when the shooting occurred. At the first shot, he ran for safety but the three police officers reportedly chased him. As they neared, he told them he was not with the person they were chasing. One of the policemen reportedly shot Pagar.
“There was no threat to them, why did they have to kill him?” Barangay 141 councilman James Pagar, another uncle of the victim, said.
Investigators later found a P20 bill and a Toblerone bar, given by a female friend, in Pagar’s pockets.
Garcia was reportedly buying hamburger from a store when he was hit by stray bullets.
Another report has it that Antonio and Chua were seen chasing at least four armed teenagers along Progreso street. Residents reportedly sought their help because the armed teenagers were seen roaming the neighborhood.
According to De Leon, who surrendered to police officers who arrived at the scene, he was checking his coffee vending machine when he tried to stop the sword-wielding boy, who reportedly attacked him.
“I had no intention of hurting him but when he confronted me with his sword, I had no recourse but to shoot him,” De Leon said.
De Leon said that he could not ascertain whether Antonio and Chua or the group of youngsters they were chasing also fired their guns.
De Leon said he brought Lintag to the hospital for treatment and surrendered to the Caloocan City police and turned over his .9mm service pistol. Antonio and Chua have yet to surface at the police station as of press time yesterday.
Senior Superintendent Jude Santos, the city police chief, directed Soriano to conduct a thorough investigation into the case. - By Jerry Botial and Pete Laude