Eight killed in 'grudge' shooting spree

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The Independent Online

A man with a grudge stole a rifle and ammunition from his boss and went on a shooting spree in the Philippines today, killing eight people and wounding six others, most of them children, police said.

Five of the dead were aged between four and 12. They were sleeping inside their homes in Calamba town in Laguna province, south of Manila, when the attacker opened fire with an M-16 rifle, said Laguna provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Felipe Rojas.

Chief Superintendent Ricardo Padilla identified the suspect as Adan Defiesta, caretaker of a vegetable farm in Calamba, who allegedly stole the rifle and eight magazines of ammunition from the owner, a retired policeman.

A witness told investigators he begged Defiesta not to kill him, Mr Padilla said. The same witness quoted Defiesta as saying he was upset that people in the town were making fun of him, according to Mr Padilla. It was not clear who or what provoked him.

Mr Padilla said police launched a massive manhunt for Defiesta.

Six people were wounded, among them a five-year-old and an eight-year-old, police said.

"When we interviewed the wounded, they said they just woke to the sound of gunfire and that they were hit," said nurse Rey Enriquez, who was treating the casualties at a nearby hospital.

The killings came three days after robbers barged into a bank in the same province on Friday and shot dead 10 people in the head, triggering nationwide outrage.

National police Chief Avelino Razon said yesterday that his men were looking at the possible involvement of a known robbery gang in the bank killings, but declined to give details.

The bank and private contributors raised 2 million pesos (£24,300) as a reward for the capture of the killers.

Police set up checkpoints and intensified patrols around Laguna, where several multinational companies have set up factories and assembly plants.