‘ACCIDENTAL FIRING OR HOMICIDE?’: 12-year-old’s death mystifies police

By Jennifer P. Rendon

A Grade 6 pupil perished after he accidentally shot himself evening of Jan. 16 in Maasin, Iloilo.

Or so claimed by the sole “eyewitness” to the death of 12-year-old Jimmy (real name withheld).

Major Jose Nemias Pamplona, Maasin police chief, said the incident happened around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday but they were only informed around 9 p.m.

Jimmy’s aunt claimed that there was an incident of alleged accidental firing. She also requested an ambulance to bring her nephew to the hospital.

Together with personnel from the Maasin Rural Health Unit, police arrived at Sitio Puro, Barangay Dalusan, around 12 kilometers from the town proper, at around 10 p.m.

Pamplona explained that the scene can only be reached after a 30-minute walk.

“When we arrived at the unattended house where the incident happened, the boy was lying on his abdomen on the floor near the kitchen,” he said.

But Pamplona noted that they did not recover the firearm or any bullet from the scene.

RHU personnel took the victim to Ramon Tabiana Memorial District Hospital in Cabatuan town but he was declared dead on arrival.

Police, on the other hand, were left to process the scene of the incident.

A follow-up investigation later led police to 15-year-old Jay, a Grade 9 student and the only witness to the incident.

Jay’s stepfather owned the house where the incident happened.

But Jay was no longer in the area when police arrived. Police did not run after him despite the hot pursuit.

At 5:30 a.m. the following day, Jay was turned over to the police and personnel of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO).

He told police that he scampered after the incident for fear that the victim’s family would hurt him.

He claimed to have left the victim and the firearm the latter allegedly used.

This ran contrary to the claim of a neighbor who claimed that Jay was seen running while holding a firearm.

Jay told police investigators that Jimmy showed him a firearm but claimed that it had no bullet in it.

It was then that he asked the victim to go with him to his stepfather’s house since he saw bullets being kept there.

Jay added that the victim placed bullets in the gun’s chamber.

Jimmy then aimed the gun at him and cocked the trigger, but it did not go off.

Jay added that the victim then aimed the gun at himself. Unfortunately, the gun went off.

Pamplona said the victim suffered injuries on his hand and chest.

“If we’re to analyze Jimmy’s wounds, it will go contrary to someone who’s been hit after accidentally shooting himself,” he said citing the trajectory of the bullets and the victim’s injuries.

“It’s also an awkward position for someone who accidentally fired at himself to shoot his own hand,” he said.

Given the evidence, Pamplona said they’re considering the possibility of a foul play.

“And yes, Jay is considered as a person of interest,” he said.

It was gathered that a paraffin test would be conducted on both the victim and Jay.

The 15-year-old boy is now in the police’s custody after MSWDO personnel begged the boy into their custody due to a lack of appropriate facilities.