TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines–A hostage-taking incident that took place inside an office building in Catbalogan City past noon Friday ended in the death of the gunman, the authorities said.
Suspect Patrocinio Dabucol, a security guard assigned at the Social Security System Catbalogan branch, fellow security guard Melvin Oliva and SSS senior clerk Dionito Mate were having a conversation at around 1 p.m. when it escalated into a heated argument.
Dabucol, using his service .38 cal. service revolver, then shot Oliva and Mate, said Inspector Romuel Nacar, media relations officer of the regional Philippine National Police (PNP-Region 8).
Oliva and Mate were both hit in the abdomen, Nacar said.
SSS employees and clients scampered out of the SSS office, leaving behind Oliva, Mate and another employee, Cristabelle Silvano.
The three became Dabucol’s hostages but Silvano was released unhurt after a 20-minute negotiation, Nacar said.
Nacar said that a negotiating team, composed of Mayor Coefredo Uy, provincial police director Supt. Eusebio Mejos and city police chief Senior Supt. Avelino Doncillo, was hastily organized to convince the suspect to surrender and release Oliva and Mate.
But when Dabucol refused to yield and release the two remaining hostages, Mejos, who served as the ground commander, ordered the assault.
An exchange of gunfire ensued between Dabucol and the assault team, composed of local police and members of the SWAT team, resulting in the wounding of the suspect. The police declared the incident over at 2:45 p.m.
Dabucol, who sustained injuries in the abdomen and both legs, was brought to the Samar Provincial Hospital. He was declared dead by attending doctors at 4:20 p.m.
Oliva and Mate were also brought to the same hospital for treatment and were reported to be in stable condition.