4 killed in Zambo school attack

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 22 2010 05:23 PM | Updated as of Oct 23 2010 06:25 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 5) - An ex-convict went on a stabbing spree inside an elementary school in Zamboanga City Friday, killing 3 people and injuring 6 others before he was mauled to death by angry parents and villagers.

Zamboanga City mayor Celso Lobregat said suspect Felin Mateo entered 2 classrooms inside the Talisayan Elementary School past 1 p.m. and started attacking students and teachers with a knife.

"He attacked without any warning or provocation. It was the people and parents who killed the attacker after hearing the cries of help from students and teachers," Lobregat told radio dzMM.

Three people were killed in the attack namely Grade 6 student Ces Loryn Orpiano, 12; teacher Lorna Culanon, and Ruben Flores, 64.

Two teachers and 4 students were also injured and were rushed to Brent Hospital. Two of them, teacher Jony Torres and student Lyka Bassing have undergone operations.

Lobregat said the operations on the two have been successful.

Rampage in 3 classrooms

Princess Briones, one of the victims, recounted that they did not notice the suspect enter the classroom. They suddenly found Mateo shouting, and then he stabbed Torres and some of the students.

After his rampage in the Grade 6 classroom, he went to the Culanon's Grade 2 classroom, where he also stabbed the teacher.

Upon exiting the Grade 2 classroom, he then stabbed Flores, who was there to help restrain Mateo.

The school's caretaker then chased the suspect up to a separate school building, where he went to the Grade 5 classroom of Ludivina Balilo. Here, Mateo forcibly opened the locked door.

Balilio, along with 2 other teachers and a dozen students, hid in the comfort room inside the classroom. Mateo, meanwhile, was in the classroom, hiding from the caretaker.

Moments before barangay tanods arrived at the scene, Mateo was able to stab Balilo, but he was caught by the tanods soon after.

Balilo said the suspect was aiming to stab the students, but she shielded them from the ex-convict.

'Normal'

Lobregat said Mateo had received a life sentence on a rape charge in 1981 in his native Negros Occidental, and was brought to the Zamboanga City San Ramon Penal Colony.

His sentence was commuted in 1999. He was released from prison in 2008.

The mayor said Mateo decided to stay in Zamboanga City where he got a job raising chickens.

Mateo was to return home to Negros Occidental this December, said the mayor.

Lobregat said Mateo's employer described the killer as "normal." He said that on the day of the attack, Mateo even asked for P10 SMS load from his employer's son.

The mayor denied earlier reports that the killer had escaped from prison and had even held some of the students hostage.

He said he had already reported the incident to Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and Education Secretary Armin Luistro. With reports from RJ Rosalado, David Santos and Jewel Reyes, ABS-CBN Zamboanga; and Noel Alamar, radio dzMM