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Man kills 2 in Philippine courtroom

MANILA — A Canadian man opened fire Tuesday in a central Philippine courtroom, killing two people and wounding another before he was shot by a police officer.

The incident marks the latest in a series of high-profile shootings in the Philippines that have prompted calls for greater controls on gun ownership.

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Private gun ownership is legal but regulated in the Philippines and the country has an enthusiastic gun culture, similar to that of the United States though on a much smaller scale.

The gun-control debate was revived in the Philippines on Jan. 2 when a 7-year-old girl in Manila died after being hit in the head by a stray bullet during celebratory New Year’s gunfire.

In the incident Tuesday in Cebu, police said the gunman, John Pope, smuggled two pistols into a court hearing involving a dispute with his neighbor, a surgeon. Pope opened fire during the proceedings, killing his neighbor and the neighbor’s lawyer and wounding one other person. Pope died of a gunshot wound but the authorities gave different accounts as to whether he died from police fire or whether he shot himself.

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