Police officer dies shielding Misamis Oriental students from grenade blast

A policeman from the town of Initao in Misamis Oriental died yesterday in a grenade attack that also injured at least 16 others.

The late Police Senior Master Sgt. Jason Magno responded to a call from Initiao College at around 11:20am yesterday, after a panicked caller from the school had reported that a man inside the college grounds was allegedly terrorizing students, according to Rappler.

Magno rushed to the scene with colleague Master Sgt. Alice Balido, where they found suspect Ebrahim Ampaso Basher, a 65-year-old resident of Madamba, Lanao del Sur, walking around school grounds openly carrying a grenade, CNN Philippines reports.

Magno found Basher at the college basketball court and was about to arrest him when the latter reportedly pulled the grenade’s pin and threw it towards a group of students, who attempted to flee. The grenade exploded just as Magno reached for it and covered it with his body. Misamis Police spokesperson Captain Princess Velarde said Magno had “embraced the grenade. He dropped to cover the grenade so the impact wouldn’t be strong.”

According to ABS-CBN News both Magno and Basher died in the explosion, while at least 16 individuals, including officer Balido, several students, and employees of the school, were rushed to the hospital for treatment.

Investigations are still ongoing as to what motive was behind the suspect’s terrorizing of the school, and where he got the explosive device.

In a Facebook post yesterday, the local government of Initao extended their condolences to the family of Magno. It also canceled activities of the Lantawan Festival as a way of paying respects.

“We lost a hero today. May his soul rest in peace,” the post said.

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