Pope death probe officially closed
The investigation into how Cebu courthouse gunman John Pope died is closed.
Senior Supt. Mariano Natu-el Jr., acting chief of of police of Cebu City, said investigators have concluded that the 66-year-old Canadian expatriate shot himself in the head.
“We conclude that beore he died, he was shot twice by the police and then he shot himself,” he said.
The conclusion was based on a post -mortem examination of Pope’s body and the testimony of a process server who said he saw the Canadian shoot himself.
Two policemen, PO1 Oriel Hagupit and PO2 Celso Rivera, shot Pope in the arm and leg after they cornered him in a stairwell near the City Prosecutor’s Office.
Forensic experts said there was tattooing on Pope’s gunshot wound in the right temple indicating that he was shot at close range. Strands of hair wer also found on the barrel of Pope’s .357 caliber revolver.
The Canadian retiree fatally shot Dr Reynold Rene Rafols and lawyer Jubian Achas inside the Branch 6 courtroom of the Metropolitan Trial Court in Cities and seriously wounded Assistant City Prosecutor Maria Theresa Casiño last Tuesday. Rafols and Achas were waiting for the start of the hearing of a criminal case they filed against Pope.
A local official of the Commission on Human Rights earlier proposed that the National Bureau of Investigation conduct a parallel probe to make sure there will be no whitewash. Natu-el said that while he welcomes the suggestion, he believes there is no need for the NBI to come in.
Pope’s body was cremated last Friday at the request of Pope’s family, represented by his sister, Susan Webb. His ashes were handed over to Ires Adiong of Negros Occidental, whom Pope identified in his journal as his former lover. /Chito Aragon and Aileen Yap
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