Police chief in Batangas City says shooting could have been a contract killing over a property dispute.
Manila, Philippines – A Canadian man living in the Philippines has been murdered on the eve of his planned relocation to B.C., over what police say appears to have been a property dispute.
CBC News has confirmed that Barry Gammon, 66, formerly of Montreal, was gunned down outside his home near Batangas City, southwest of Manila, on June 24.
Local police say his widow, Luzviminda Gammon, a Philippine national, was injured when she tried to fight off the shooter — one of two men who stormed their property. Their nine-year-old son hid inside the home and was uninjured.
Police say the murder may have been a targeted hit — and they believe they know who was responsible.
“The suspect might have been commissioned … as someone to kill for a contract that had been made on Barry Gammon,” said Supt. Sancho Celedio, Batangas City chief of police.
Reached by phone by the CBC, Celedio said, “Apparently Barry Gammon had altercations with certain personalities in his block regarding a possible dispute about right of ways.”
He said a suspect with a criminal record has been identified.
“We’ve already filed charges against the suspect. And we’re now waiting for the warrant of the arrest to be issued,” Celedio said.
“Until [then], we would rather that we are silent about [his] identity, so that precludes any attempt for him to go out of the area, or it will be a challenge for us.”
Batangas police say around 7 on the evening of the attack, two men rode up to the gate of the Gammon home on a motorbike.
Barry Gammon went to investigate, and one man pulled a gun and opened fire.
As Gammon staggered back into his yard, the gunman followed and continued to shoot.
According to Philippine media reports, Gammon was struck multiple times and was rushed to a local hospital, but was dead upon arrival.
Planned to return to Canada
A close family associate who does not want to be identified for safety reasons says Gammon lived in the Philippines since 2008, after spending much of his life living in the U.S.
Due to rising tensions in the neighbourhood, the family had planned to leave the Philippines as soon as possible and relocate to Kelowna in the B.C. Okanagan.
Real estate listings show the family had just put their home up for sale.
‘Deepest condolences’: Global Affairs Canada
In response to queries from CBC News regarding Gammon’s murder, the Canadian government confirms it’s aware of the case.
“Global Affairs Canada offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of the Canadian citizen who was murdered in the Philippines,” writes media spokesperson Krista Humick. “Consular officials are providing consular assistance to the family during this difficult time. Due to the provisions of the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed.”
Supt. Celedio said the killing leaves him “very concerned.”
“We want all the foreign tourists and even those who are residents in the city and elsewhere [to be] secured and protected by the local police,” he said.
“We would like to see it as an isolated incident.”