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Jail officer shoots young man dead

An 18-year-old grocery merchandiser died after being hit by a bullet from the gun of a drunk jail officer who fired a “warning shot” to scare away the victim’s noisy group at 2:45 a.m. on All Souls’ Day in Pasay City.

Senior Superintendent Nolasco Bathan, chief of Pasay City Police, identified the arrested suspect as Jail Officer 1 Errol Channas, assigned to the female dormitory of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Pasay and resident of No. 117, Pasadena Street.

The victim, Juan Carlos Espinosa of No. 15-A Torres Street, was declared dead on arrival at the Pasay City General Hospital after sustaining a gunshot wound in the right armpit.

Initial investigation showed that around 2:45 a.m., Espinosa and his friends were hanging out along Torres Street when Channas – drunk and armed – ordered them to go home since it was already early morning.

Espinosa left after lighting his cigarette while his friends stayed, report said.

Channas then asked one of the victim’s friends, Josef Luis Balantakbo, why they weren’t heeding his order.

Out of fear, Balantakbo and the other teens hurriedly left, but Channas pulled out his service firearm, a 9mm pistol, and fired a shot, hitting Espinosa.

Espinosa was rushed by his family to the hospital but to no avail.

Channas, on the other hand, was arrested in his house by members of Libertad Police Community Precinct (PCP).

In an interview, Channas said he had no intention of killing Espinosa, claiming he only wanted the teens out of the streets especially during those hours.

“Sobrang lasing po talaga ako, warning shot lang dapat po iyon eh. Hindi ko po alam na may tinamaan pala ako.

Nagsisisi po ako,” Channas said.

Channas said he was off-duty when the incident happened. He came from a drinking spree at a friend’s house.

Channas is now detained at the Pasay City Jail. He was charged with murder and violation of Comprehensive Firearms Law before the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office. (Martin A. Sadongdong, Jean Fernando)

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