COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Local folks want the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID) to punish a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Corps for an accidental discharge of a pistol, wounding a minor in the head.
Investigators said Pfc. Michelle Ortega of the 6th Infantry Division was checking her handgun she deposited to security guards at the entrance of the Southseas Mall along Magallaaes Street here last Sunday when she accidentally pulled its trigger, setting a cartridge on its chamber off.
Witnesses said the bullet hit the concrete floor of the mall and ricocheted upwards, hitting a minor standing nearby in the head.
Superintendent Efren Salazar, chief of the city’s main police precinct located near the mall, said Ortega rushed the wounded minor to a hospital for medication.
Ortega was yet on administrative leave until Sunday and has not reported still to the 6th ID following a short-term special military schooling.
Captain Joan Petinglay, spokesperson of 6th ID, told reporters it is a tradition for soldiers to go on administrative leave after schooling on special courses related to their security works.
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Petinglay said they will summon Ortega immediately for an inquiry on the incident.
Members of professional gun clubs here said on social media Ortega apparently was unaware of the two cardinal rules on gun handling that are meant to preclude accidents.
“First of these two rules is to assume that all guns around you, including your gun, are loaded – so never be complacent and careless. The second rule is to only put your trigger finger to a firing position once you are to shoot a target,” a gun enthusiast said.
The social media has been flooded since Sunday afternoon with appeals by local folks for the 6th ID to immediately censure Ortega for the accident that injured a minor.