hostage drama

MANILA, Philippines – A security guard shot himself after slaying a lawyer, whom he grabbed hostage for more than 10 hours in San Juan on Tuesday as the city celebrates its annual fiesta.

The hostage-taking started at around 10:00 p.m. in a building along N. Domingo Avenue in Balonbato District, Monday.

Police recognized the hostage-taker as Charlimaine Aton, 36. The slain hostage was lawyer Solomon Condonuevo, 67.

Senior Superintendent Joselito Daniel, chief of San Juan police, stated Condonuevo was still alive when members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams arrived at around 8 a.m. However, he was confirmed dead on arrival after being brought to San Juan de Dios Hospital.

Aton shot himself with his .38-claiber pistol as a team of policemen breached the building.

Senior Inspector Melchor Rosales, San Juan City police’s deputy chief, said they had a hard time negotiating with Aton.

Police reported that a relative seemed to have induced Aton to surrender, but suddenly shot himself in the head after seeing several people around the building.

Rosales further stated that Aton even demanded a meeting with US President Barack Obama and President Benigno Aquino III, a chance to talk with his ex-girlfriend, a one-way plane ticket to his hometown Dipolog City, and a letter signed by his hostage relieving him of any responsibility.

The suspect separated with his girlfriend, a certain Luz Gomez, about a year ago, according to Daniel.

“We tried but couldn’t locate her,” he said.

The police chief said they even brought a psychiatrist to assess the suspect’s mental state during the negotiations through the locked gate and windows.

Aton was a security guard at the Optima Building where Condenuevo was a tenant.

-JEANE MARIE M. FAMINOGAN
LNU, ABCOM INTERN

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