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MANILA, Philippines — Five soldiers, including a gunman who happened to be in the military, perished Saturday morning after a mass shooting incident broke out inside the Army’s Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro City
The soldier, who went berserk, Pvt. Johmar Villabito was subsequently shot dead by responding Pvt. Mark Anthony Aguinid and Pfc. Josiah Estrada.
The incident reportedly occurred during the early hours of 1 a.m. according to Maj. Francisco Garello Jr., spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division. The names of the victims are still withheld as of press time.
“This resulted in the death of four… of our soldiers and wounding another one… The suspect used an M16 rifle. The suspect shot the victims while they’re sleeping,” said Garello in a mix of Filipino and English in an interview with the media.
“The perpetrator also died during the said incident.”
In separate statements, Saturday, the Army’s 4th Infantry Division and the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office said Villabito first barged into the sleeping quarter of Sgt. Rogelio Rojo, Cpl. Bernard Rodrigo, Pfc. Prince Kevin Balaba and Pvt. Joseph Tamayo and killed them one after another with his service firearm in an attack that left Sgt. Braulio Macalos badly wounded.
The four slain soldiers and Villabito belonged to the Headquarters Service Battalion of the 4th ID, under Major Gen. Wilbur Mamawag.
Aguinid and Estrada together managed to neutralize Villabito, who also died on the spot from multiple bullet wounds.
Garello said that they still could not determine the motive behind the suspect’s actions and could not confirm rumors going around that the violence was relationship-related.
The commander of the 4ID, Maj. Gen. Wilbur Mamawag has now created a board of inquiry team to investigate the matter.
After initially firing rounds at four sleeping soldiers, the gunman allegedly proceeded to another room which eventually lead to his/her demise.
“[T]here [were] two soldiers that were already alert and they saw that he/she was coming. They managed to neutralize the suspect. They wrestled and grappled for the weapon, and eventually, the suspect was killed in self-defense,” continued Garello.
“What we can confirm is that there [are] five soldiers died during the incident… one is wounded and being given medical attention.”
Among those killed were a staff sergeant, a private, and a corporal. Several shots were said to have been fired so military officials still could not confirm if the fatal shots were delivered to the head.
The 4ID offered their sincere condolences to the bereaved families during these challenging times. (J. Unson, J. Relativo/Philstar)