3 hurt, hostage taker killed in police rescue op

DAVAO CITY – A member of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team was stabbed by the suspect in a hostage-taking incident during an operation inside the posh Woodridge Park Subdivision in Maa, this city, on Wednesday.

Davao City Police Office spokesperson Maria Theresita Gaspan said SWAT member PO3 Junrell Tan was attacked by the suspect using a butcher’s knife after a failed negotiation for the latter’s surrender.

The SWAT team responded to the call for assistance by Allen de Vera, owner of the house along Acacia Lane, Woodridge Park, where the hostage-taking took place at about 9:45 a.m.

Gaspan said the suspect, who was later identified as 40-year-old Harland Ocampo Garvida, was killed by the responding policemen.

According to Gaspan, Garvida barged into the house of de Vera and attacked him, prompting de Vera to take his Glock 9-mm. and a commotion ensued.

The firearm went off during the scuffle hitting house helper Anna Cecilia Samson Flores, 46, of Times Beach. De Vera managed to call up the police for assistance before he himself was taken hostage by the suspect.

Chief Insp. Ronald Lao, Talomo police precinct commander, said he attempted a negotiation with Garvida but failed. This prompted the police to hatch a rescue plan.

During the rescue, Garvida stabbed Tan repeatedly, hitting him in the arm and damaging the officer’s assault gear. The SWAT team then shot Garvida to immobilize him.

Garvida was rushed by Central 911 team to the Southern Philippines Medical Center but he was declared dead on arrival by the attending physician.

Tan, de Vera, who sustained a fractured shoulder and injuries in different parts of the body, and the house helper, were all brought to the SPMC for treatment. They are all in stable condition. Lilian C Mellejor/

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