18-year-old man with special needs shot dead in gun scuffle with police

Published May 24, 2021, 2:59 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

An 18-year-old man with special needs was shot dead allegedly by a police officer in a raid at an illegal tupada or cockfighting site in Valenzuela City.

Mayor Rex Gatchalian on Monday identified the victim as Edwin Arnigo, a person with autism.

Citing initial information from Valenzuela City Police Station, Gatchalian said the incident happened in Barangay Lingunan on Sunday afternoon after a gun scuffle transpired between Arnigo and the police, whose identity was not yet known.

“Gumugulong gulong pa raw sila ng pulis bago magkabarilan (They were rolling on the floor before the shot was fired),” the mayor said in DZBB interview.

But Arnigo’s family denied the police claim, according to Gatchalian. The victim’s mother said her son only bought an ice candy at the time of the incident. He was also afraid of police officers so it was impossible he could get near them.

“The victim just went outside to buy an ice candy across their house… But his mom went to the toilet or did something inside the house, so when she finished, she was surprised that her son was no longer sitting on the bench outside their house,” he said in mixed English and Filipino, “Then she heard of the commotion.”

Witnesses in the area said a police officer shot Arnigo, Gatchalian added.

“Ang sabi nila, may mga eyewitness na nagsabi na doon daw (sa bench) inaccost si Edwin at doon binaril, tapos hinila nalang daw papunta doon sa tupada site kaya daw walang shirt si Edwin, parang natanggal (They said that according to eyewitnesses, the victim was accosted at the bench he was sitting, where he was also shot. They also belived that the victim was dragged into the cockfighting site that’s why he had no shirt),” he said.

This was the reason why Arnigo’s family believed there was also a “pool of blood” in the area, Gatchalian said.

However, the Valenzuela City Police maintained its side.

“There are now two conflicting stories,” Gatchalian said.

The police officer who allegedly shot Arnigo and three others who joined him in the raid are already under restrictive custody pending investigation, Gatchalian said.