Mass Shootings NOT an American Phenomenon (Kawit Murders)

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A Brief History

On January 4, 2013, the Philippines were the scene of mass shooting carnage when a 41 year old man went on a rampage that left 20 people and a dog shot, with 7 of those people dying of their wounds and sadly, also the dog.  The locale of the shootings was Kawit, a city of over 83,000 people on the shores of Manila Bay on the island of Luzon.

Digging Deeper

As we have pointed out on several occasions, mass shootings are not a strictly American occurrence, as such tragedies happen in other countries as well as the USA.  Unfortunately, in 2013, it was the Philippines that suffered such an indignity.  In the Kawit Shootings, the perpetrator, the 41 year old Ronald Baquiran Bae, used a semi-automatic pistol to perform his murderous deeds.  While authorities are unsure why he went on the shooting rampage, an unusual factor in the murders was that the shooter had an accomplice that reloaded his pistol magazines for him as he used up the ammunition!  John Paul Lopez, a 27 year old man employed by Bae as his household caretaker was arrested as the accomplice.  The motives of Lopez are also unknown, though of course the 2 men obviously had at least a working relationship.

The carnage began at a store where Bae asked children if a certain man named Berto was around.  When they said no, he opened fire with this .45 caliber M1911 type pistol (that has a 7 round magazine), killing a 7 year old on the spot while wounding the victim’s 2 siblings.  Bae and Lopez left the store, and Bae commenced to shooting at anyone he could see as he ran down the street, first killing a man and the man’s dog.  Among the total of 20 people shot by Bae were a pregnant woman and her 3 year old child.  As Bae emptied his pistol magazine, Lopez would fill it with 7 new cartridges.  Bae made it back to his house without being apprehended.  Police later reported an 8th fatal victim of Bae.  (The condition of those wounded and not killed is unknown, though a .45 ACP bullet can leave a devastating wound.)

Police arrived at the Bae residence, but Bae chose to shoot it out with the police instead of surrendering.  Bae was killed in the gunfight, but Lopez managed to escape unseen, though he later surrendered to the police after a 100,000P reward was offered. (The monetary unit of the Philippines is the Peso, with the reward valued at about $2100 in American dollars.)  Lopez told police that Bae had murdered another man in 2003, and led the police to the remains of the victim, a man said to have cheated Bae somehow regarding fighting cocks.

While we cannot be sure, it seems the victims of Bae’s rampage had no adverse relationship with the gunman, making this incident all the more tragic and of course, totally unnecessary.  Although we often lament the lack of astute reporting and prompt psychological treatment of potential murderers, it is hard to say if anyone could have foreseen Bae embarking on his spree of terror.  Whether or not an armed citizen could have intervened to cut the killing spree short is also unknown, though we do know the police did not arrive in time to stop the shooting, arriving only after Bae had made it back to his residence.  Why people shoot strangers baffles this author.  How about you?

Question for students (and subscribers):  Are you aware of mass shootings in countries other than the US? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Miller, Jonathan. Rodrigo Duterte: fire and fury in the Philippines. Scribe US, 2018.

Sidel, John. Capital, Coercion, and Crime: Bossism in the Philippines. Stanford University Press, 1999.

The featured image in this article, a map by HueMan1 of Cavite showing the location of Kawit, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.