A gunman went on a shooting rampage near the Philippine capital on Friday, killing more than nine people in his neighborhood, according to authorities.
The man, Ronald Bae, was responsible for the shooting, according to local police officer Joseph Camaret. Bae went door-to-door in the rampage in Kawit, a town about 20 kilometers south of Manila.
CNN reports that, following the shooting spree, Bae was killed during a gun battle with police officers, who attempted to persuade him to surrender.
Authorities are still searching for a suspect they believe acted as Bae’s accomplice in the deadly attack. Along with killing nine people, Bae also shot and injured 11 others. Casualties included children, though there was not specific number given of those killed.
The shooting will likely continue the gun debate in the Philippines, which has been subject to frequent gun crimes. Several groups believe that it is time for stricter gun controls in the country, especially after the death of Stephanie Ella, 7, who was killed amid celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve.
A four-year-old boy was also killed on New Year’s Ever by a stray bullet, though Stephanie’s death was the catalyst to the latest gun control requests. Vice President Jejomar Binay said of her death, “This incident should not be allowed to become just another statistic.”
CBS News notes that Bae was apparently intoxicated at the time of the shooting rampage, though officials are still not sure of the reason for the attack. Bae left the Kawit neighborhood about a year ago after he lost an election to become the village chairman.
He apparently returned to the region on Monday after a “marital problem” with his wife caused him to leave her in northern Pampanga province.
Bae and several of his friends were apparently on a “drug and alcohol binge” during the week. The suspect left a store where his friends were drinking, returning with the caretaker of his house in Kawit. He started the shooting rampage in the neighborhood around him, reportedly threatening to kill the caretaker if he didn’t reload Bae’s pistol for him during the shooting.
Cavite provincial Governor Jonvic Remulla stated, “He just shot at anyone he saw. You could see that these were really acts of a madman.”
Among those killed was a pregnant woman, who died after being shot in the stomach. Her unborn baby also died. Three children were also shot, one of which was Bae’s godson. One child died and two are in critical condition. Abigail Valte, a spokeswoman for Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, believes that the killings “will certainly fuel the efforts of the [Philippine National Police] in its drive against loose firearms.”