BANGUED, Abra – A Grade 4 pupil was killed while another elementary was wounded when they were accidentally hit by separate stray bullets that came from the firearms used by irresponsible New Year revelers during the celebration of the New Year in barangay Bugcat, Tayum and San Ramon, Manabu, respectively, early Thursday morning.
Senior Superintendent Albertlito S. Garcia, director of the Abra provincial police office, identified the stray bullet fatality as Jercy Tabaday, 11, a Grade 4 pupil who hails from barangay Bumagcat, Tayum while the injured individual was described to be 11 years old and a resident of San Ramon, Manabu town.
“Our investigators are already conducting an in-depth investigation on the two stray bullet incidents that unfortunately claimed the life of an innocent girl. Five individuals who were within the vicinity of the Tabaday residence were already subjected to the required paraffin test and we are simply awaiting the results,” Garcia stressed.
Probers disclosed the victim was with the members of her family outside their residence awaiting the coming of the New Year when she suddenly fell on the ground that caused panic among her family members as blood oozed from her head.
According to Garcia, she was immediately rushed to the Abra provincial hospital for medical treatment but she died while undergoing close medical supervision.
Garcia pointed out the recovered slug from the victim’s head came from a .45 caliber pistol and the slug is now undergoing the appropriate tests in the provincial crime laboratory.
In the case of the 11-year old victim from Manabu, Garcia ruled that he was already out of danger considering that he only sustained laceration wounds on his hands after being hit by a stray bullet that came from another .45 caliber pistol.
Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin strongly condemned the unfortunate stray bullet incidents that were recorded in the province, saying that the incidents call for a tighter and stricter implementation of the total gun ban provincewide considering that the victims are ‘innocent individuals who are not aware of the use of firearms.’
“We will immediately convene a meeting among the members of the provincial peace and order council in order to come out with strategies on how to convince the public to help identify the perpetrators. We want the suspects to answer for the serious crime that they committed and we hope they will have the conscience to voluntarily surrender and admit their involvement in the crime,” Bersamin stressed.
The governor directed concerned departments of the provincial government to initially extend financial and counseling assistance to the families of the stray bullet victims while awaiting the outcome of the on-going investigations.
Bersamin said barangay officials and neighbors of the two stray bullet victims must cooperate in the on-going investigation in order to pinpoint those irresponsible revelers for them to answer for the crimes they committed.
Further, he ordered the conduct of ballistic test on all the firearms of the members of the Tayun and Manabu municipal police stations as part of the strategies to help in ascertaining the identities of the perpetrators who unlawfully and willfully fired their guns to celebrate the new year. By Dexter A. See