Tabloid reporter, 4 cops exchange gunfire in Manila

12/11/2010 -MANILA, Philippines - A policeman and a civilian were hurt in a gunfight between a tabloid reporter and 4 policemen in Sampaloc district, Manila, late Friday night.

Jasper Barcelon, reporter/photographer of Abante Tonite assigned in Malacaรฑang, has surrendered his licensed firearm to the Manila Police District (MPD).

Barcelon was brought to the MPD General Assignment Section, where he will be detained pending the investigation.

Initial investigations showed that the gunfight between Barcelon and the 4 policemen, 2 of them identified as Police Officer 3 Arthur Martinez and Police Officer 1 Arlon Gregorio, started after the journalist’s brother accosted a man who was urinating on their gate.

Barcelon said that when he intervened, an armed man who identified himself as a policeman approached them.

The man urinating beside Barcelon’s home and the policemen were attending a wake near the site of the encounter at the corner of Jocson and Loyola streets in Sampaloc district. The shootout took place before midnight.

“Nagpakilala na ako sa kanila na reporter ako,” he said, adding that the shootout started when he told the policeman that he can be dismissed from the service for carrying a firearm while not on duty.

He said his father, who has a heart problem, was having a seizure and was hit by shrapnel in the back during the first volley of gunfire from the other group.

He said he had to return fire to be able to pull his father into their house’s compound. He added that while he was pulling his father to safety, the other group continued firing.

Barcelon said that he emptied a whole magazine and had to change magazines to retaliate.

The reporter’s neighbors, meanwhile, claimed that Barcelon started the gunfight.

“Ang sabi niya wala akong pakialam kahit mga pulis kayo. Pinaputukan niya. ‘Yun tumba agad siyempre,” Randy Cagoma, Barcelon’s neighbor said.

The policeman that Cagoma was referring to was PO3 Martinez, who was rushed to the hospital due to gunshot wounds in the chest, arms and feet.

Police have yet to determine who really started the gunfight (ABS-CBN News)

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