Valenzuela cop in teen’s death says his attention was ‘divided’ during ‘gun scuffle’
MANILA, Philippines — The attention of the police officer involved in the alleged gun scuffle that led to the death of an 18-year-old boy with special needs in Valenzuela City was divided during the incident as he was securing another suspect, the chief of the Valenzuela City police said Thursday.
Valenzuela City police chief Col. Ramchrisen Haveria Jr. said this was the claim of the police officer who was involved in the incident that led to the death of Edwin Cabantugan Arnigo on Sunday.
“Base sa salaysay ng ating pulis, meron kasi syang hawak na isa pang suspek noong nangyari ang insidente, so parang nagdadalawa ang kanyang atensyon kaya ganun,” Haveria told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
(Based on the narration of the police officer, he was holding another suspect when the incident happened, so his attention was divided.)
But Haveria assured that police investigators will not rely solely on this claim.
“Hindi natin isasara doon. Titingnan natin. Syempre kung may negligence talaga ay pananagutan talaga. Hindi itotolerate,” he added.
(We will not close the investigation on that. We will investigate. Of course, if there is negligence, he will be liable for it. We won’t tolerate it.)
Police earlier said Arnigo was killed after he allegedly grabbed the firearm of one of the policemen who were conducting a raid in an illegal cockfighting site in Valenzuela City.
However, Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian said Arnigo’s family told him that the teen would not have approached the policemen since he was afraid of them and had autism.
The family, citing eyewitnesses, said police shot Arnigo and dragged him at the cockfighting site to make it appear that a scuffle had happened, according to Gatchalian.
Haveria is asking witnesses to surface and help shed light on the investigation.
Four police officers have been placed under restrictive custody following the incident.
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