CEBU – A 66-year-old Canadian John Pope opened fire inside a courtroom in the central Philippine province of Cebu on Tuesday, killing a doctor and a lawyer before shooting and killing himself, police said.
John Pope, charged with “malicious mischief and grave threat”, pulled out his gun minutes before the hearing began.Philippine courtroom after shooting
He shot the prosecutor and the doctor and left the court during the commotion that followed. It was not clear how he was able to carry a handgun into the court premises.
While walking towards the lobby of a building opposite to the court, he shot the state prosecutor handling his case at point-blank range. The prosecutor was in critical condition in hospital, the National Bureau of Investigation said.
Police said they shot Pope in the arm, but he also shot himself in the head after falling to the floor, the bureau said.
Prosecutor General Claro Arellano said in a statement it was clear there was a “serious lapse in security” in the court premises, calling on the Supreme Court, overseer of courts all over the country, to investigate.
Pope had reportedly lived in the Philippines for several years.
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 six months ago. “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 shooting came after several recent killings in the country that prompted calls for a tighter gun control.