Mayor Sara Duterte dismissed allegations of an overkill in the SWAT operation that took the life of the hostage taker at Woodridge Park subdivision on Aug. 22.
Harland Ocampo Garvida, 40, the hostage-taker was declared dead on arrival at the hospital after the encounter with the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team at the crime scene.
“I don’t think it was overkill because based on what I saw in the report, he attacked the father first. During the scuffle, their helper was hit and when the father managed to get out, the kid was taken as a hostage,” Duterte explained.
She also said that one policeman was wounded when he tried to pacify the suspect.
Duterte also explained that in an operation, protecting the victim is always the priority.
“It wasn’t really an overkill because if they wait another minute, somebody might get killed. That’s what we are trying to avoid, that the hostage will get killed during a hostage situation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Duterte added that there will be no case to be filed because “unfortunately, the suspect was killed in the operation.”
The mayor also denied that the family of the suspect met her personally.
She said the incident wasn’t random because the suspect lived with the victim’s family for 10 years. The suspect, who was a diagnosed schizophrenic, also stopped taking his anti-psychotic medicines a month before the hostage-taking.
Duterte also encouraged everybody not to be complacent and be always vigilant despite living in a guarded area.
Not off the hook yet
In a separate interview, Sr. Insp. Maria Theresita Gaspan, the spokesperson of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO), said they welcome the report that the family will file a case against the police officers who responded to the scene.
“In fact, the Internal Affairs has already conducted a motu proprio investigation to determine if there are irregularities on the part of the police,” Gaspan said.
But she said the DCPO maintains its position that the operation was conducted with the assumption of regularity.
“There is already an imminent danger on the part of the police. It is the judgment call of the ground commander and there was already a crime committed,” she added.
Gaspan said that the house help was already wounded and during the course of disarming the suspect, one policeman was stabbed on the vest and another was stabbed on the Kevlar helmet. “The last resort of the police was to disable him. However, he was aggressive and stabbed the SWAT member who was hit on the elbow. That is why another shot was done,” she added.
The wounded SWAT member is already back on duty.
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