Gunman kills 9 in house-to-house rampage in Philippine town

Police investigate the scene of a gun battle in Kawit, about 40 km south of Manila on January 4, 2013.

Story highlights

  • Children are reported to be among the casualties
  • Authorities say they killed the gunman and are searching for an accomplice
  • Gun crime was already a sensitive issue after a girl was killed earlier this week

A gunman went door-to-door near the Philippine capital Friday, shooting and killing at least nine people in his neighborhood, authorities said.

The attacker, Ronald Bae, injured several others in Kawit, said Joseph Camaret, a local police officer. The town is about 20 kilometers south of central Manila.

Read more: In Philippines, clans and guns still rule

Bae was subsequently killed in a gun battle with officers who tried to persuade him to surrender, police said.

Authorities are searching for a suspect they believe acted as an accomplice in the attack.

The shooting injured 11 others, according to the official Philippine News Agency. It said casualties included children, but did not specify whether the death toll included the gunman.

Police are still investigating the motive for the attack.

Before the shooting, Filipinos had been debating whether their country, where gun crimes are frequent, needs stricter controls on firearms.

The concerns had been prompted by the death of a 7-year-old girl, Stephanie Ella, who was shot in the head amid celebratory gunfire on New Year's Eve, according to CNN affiliate ABS-CBN.

A 4-year-old boy was also killed by a stray bullet on the same day, ABS-CBN reported. But it was Stephanie's death, which happened while she was watching fireworks with her father, that set off soul-searching about gun ownership in the Philippine news media.

"This incident should not be allowed to become just another statistic," Vice President Jejomar Binay said in a statement released Thursday.

The Philippines has enough laws governing the use of guns, he said, "but the problem has always been in the enforcement of the laws, especially those on loose firearms."

The country's Firearms and Explosives Office says there were 1.2 million registered firearms in the Philippines as of last year, ABS-CBN reported. On top of that, the office estimates there were 600,000 unlicensed firearms in circulation nationwide.

The Philippines has a population of 104 million people.

Read more: Death toll from Typhoon Bopha tops 1,000 in the Philippines

      CNN Recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.