A cop was shot in the leg after two police officers had a shootout following a row over a toothpick.
The gunfight took place at a small restaurant in Caloocan City yesterday (Saturday, September 16).
The injured cop was identified as Rommel Bautista of Caloocan City Police. His shooter was identified as John Paul dela Fuente of the Manila Police District.
According to a report by GMA News, the gunfight stemmed from a quarrel between the Manila cop and a man identified as Danny Santa Maria, who were both eating at the canteen.
An eyewitness said that Santa Maria took a toothpick from the cop’s table. The police officer took offence and a quarrel between them ensued.
Although Santa Maria apologised, the witness said, De la Fuente continued shouting and swearing at him.
Santa Maria then punched the cop, who retaliated. Bystanders intervened to separate the two men.
Santa Maria then left the restaurant, but returned shortly with Bautista. Witnesses say that De la Fuente immediately drew his gun to shoot Santa Maria, but instead hit Bautista in the thigh.
Further details of the gun duel are unclear, but investigators recovered 13 spent bullet shells at the scene.
Bautista is now being treated at Caloocan City Medical Center. De la Fuente fled the scene and is now the subject of a manhunt.
Toothpick gunfight and other misdemeanours…
As we reported on Friday, the entire 1,200-strong police force in Caloocan is to be sacked and retrained in response to a series of controversies, including the killing of two teenagers and a burglary.
Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said today (Friday, September 15) that after 45 days of retraining they would be reassigned to other police units, not necessarily in Manila.
The move comes amid intense scrutiny of police activities in Caloocan after the killing of 17-year old Kian Loyd Delos Santos last month in what police claim was an anti-drugs operation. Three officers involved in his killing say he fired at them and they acted in self-defence.
His lawyers and family, however, maintain he was murdered in cold blood.
Another teenager, Carl Arnaiz, suffered a similar fate. He was accused of trying to rob a taxi driver and shooting at police who tried to arrest him. The taxi driver has told reporters he saw him alive in custody.
The order also followed reports that Caloocan cops raided an elderly woman’s home and stole money. The incident was captured on CCTV.
Footage of the alleged robbery (below) was uploaded on social media sites and went viral.