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Canadian man accused of opening fire in Philippine court building, killing 2

By Kathy Quiano, CNN
January 23, 2013 -- Updated 1257 GMT (2057 HKT)
Funeral parlor workers push a stretcher carrying one of the two people killed by a Canadian national on Tuesday.
Funeral parlor workers push a stretcher carrying one of the two people killed by a Canadian national on Tuesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The man suspected of carrying out the shooting is Canadian, authorities say
  • NEW: A prosecutor is in a critical condition after the attack
  • The shooter's victims are believed to include the complainant in his case
  • The suspect is wounded in the attack, authorities say

(CNN) -- A Canadian man is accused of opening fire in a court building in the Philippines on Tuesday, killing two people and wounding himself and one other person, authorities said.

The incident is likely to add to the debate over stricter controls on firearms in the country, which has been rattled by a series of recent shootings.

Read related: Gunman kills 9 in house-to-house rampage in Philippine town

The official Philippines News Agency (PNA) reported that the gunman "went berserk" at the Hall of Justice the city of Cebu. It identified the suspect in the case as John Pope, a Canadian.

Facing a criminal case in the courts, the gunman fatally shot the complainant in the case, who was believed to be a doctor, and the doctor's lawyer, the Philippine Supreme Court said, citing initial police reports.

Besides the gunman, the other person wounded in the attack was Maria Theresa Casino, a prosecutor who is in a critical condition, according to the PNA.

The Supreme Court said that the names of those involved were still being verified and that it was sending an official to Cebu to investigate the shooting.

The Supreme Court has supervisory responsibilities over such court buildings in the Philippines, the PNA cited Prosecutor General Claro Arellano as saying.

Arellona said there had been a severe lapse in security at the building in Cebu and called on the Supreme Court to take steps to prevent if from happening again.

Cebu police officials weren't immediately available to comment on the matter.

Earlier this month, a gunman went from house to house in a town near the capital, Manila, killing at least 9 people.

And on New Year's Eve, a 7-year-old girl died after being shot in the head amid celebratory gunfire.

The country's Firearms and Explosives Office says there were 1.2 million registered firearms in the Philippines as of last year, according to CNN affiliate ABS-CBN.

On top of that, the office estimates there were 600,000 unlicensed firearms in circulation nationwide.

Government officials have suggested that better enforcement of existing gun laws is required rather than the introduction of new rules.

Read: Philippines takes territorial fight with China to international tribunal

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