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Sunday, April 20, 2014

DPS: Cop fired gun more than twice

Witnesses have confirmed with police that Police Officer 1 Josef Deleon Guerrero shot his girlfriend with his service firearm before shooting himself, according to police spokesman Jason Tarkong yesterday.

As this developed, court records show that Deleon Guerrero was also involved in a domestic dispute in 2011 that ended up with a struggle for possession of his service .9mm pistol with his then girlfriend, Jenypy Naim Sambile.

It was the same handgun that Deleon Guerrero allegedly used on Sunday to kill himself after shooting his girlfriend, whom police identified as Elizabeth Itibus.

The shooting happened in a parking lot near the True North Bar & Grill along Beach Road, Garapan, early Sunday morning.

At yesterday’s press briefing at the Department of Public Safety, Tarkong said the 24-year-old Itibus was shot in the right shoulder but is now in stable condition at the Commonwealth Health Center’s Intensive Care Unit.

Deleon Guerrero had a gunshot wound in the head and was pronounced dead at 2:06am Sunday.

Asked how many shots were fired, Tarkong said preliminary investigation showed that Deleon Guerrero fired his service pistol more than twice.

Tarkong said they are still investigating whether alcohol or drugs were factors in the shooting. He confirmed that the two had a domestic dispute.

When asked where Deleon Guerrero and Itibus had come from before the shooting, acting DPS commissioner Ambrosio Ogumoro said that Itibus was inside True North Bar & Grill.

“The lady was in,” said Ogumoro, who owns the bar. He did not elaborate.

DPS Internal Affairs chief Capt. Lawrence Camacho, who was also present at the briefing, sated that “investigations have not covered everything yet.”

Some of the bar’s customers told Saipan Tribune that prior to the shooting, Deleon Guerrero and Itibus were sitting in separate tables with friends and relatives inside the bar.

The two later went outside. Customers, who then heard gunshots, at first thought it was just firecrackers but later ran to the parking lot where the bloodied Deleon Guerrero and Itibus were lying on the ground.

Camacho said that Deleon Guerrero joined DPS in 2008 after graduating from the 19th Police Academy Cycle and that his last assignment was at the Community Oriented Policing Section or COPS on Capital Hill.

Because of the tragic incident, Camacho said they contacted the Community Guidance Center, while the American Red Cross and the Commonwealth Health Center’s team also provided assistance to investigators.

This was not the first time Deleon Guerrero was involved in a dispute that also involved a gun.

According to court records, during a fight with his then girlfriend Sambile at their house in As Perdido on July 31, 2011, Sambile allegedly grabbed Deleon Guerrero’s service firearm in a fit of jealousy.

As they struggled for possession of the gun, the off-duty Deleon Guerrero choked Sambile, forcing her to throw the gun away.

Sambile was arrested after investigators determined that she was the initial aggressor in the scuffle.

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