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 Kin of Pinoy in Oakland motel ‘suicide’ suspect foul play

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Registration date : 2008-01-06

PostSubject: Kin of Pinoy in Oakland motel ‘suicide’ suspect foul play   Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:06 pm

CHICAGO – A 26-year-old Filipino immigrant was suspected of shooting his girlfriend before turning his own gun to himself inside a motel chain in Oakland, California last Wednesday. But his relatives suspect foul play.

Police said officers responding to a call at 12:01 Wednesday from Motel 6 at 8480 Edes Avenue in Oakland to investigate reports of gunshots and screams coming from room 2511 found the victim dead and his girlfriend critically injured.

According to Jeff Thomason, public information officer of the Oakland Police Department, officers had to force open the door of Room 2511 after their knocks went unanswered.

“Once inside, they found a man and a woman lying on the floor, both of whom were suffering from gunshot wounds," Thomason told this reporter in a phone interview Friday.

Thomason said that based on evidence, the man shot the woman and then turned the gun on himself. He added that the identity of both victims have yet to be confirmed, and the motive for the shooting was not known yet.

Relatives identified the victims as Niňo Francisco, a bachelor and caregiver residing in Vallejo, California, and his girlfriend, Abby Ismael, also a Filipino and residing in Las Vegas, Nevada.

They also expressed disbelief over the suicide angle.

Francisco’s aunt, Cynthia de la Cruz, said, “mukhang mahirap paniwalaan na nagsuicide ang aking pamankin. Siya’y marami pang pangarap sa buhay. Walang dahilan para wakasan niya ang kanyang buhay." (It’s unthinkable that my nephew would commit suicide so soon. He had lots of dreams ahead of him. There was no reason for him to end his life that soon.)

She said her nephew, who was taking care of his lola (grandmother), had planned to join the military and to continue his schooling. She said her nephew had never been in trouble with the law and had no known enemies.

“It’s frustrating that autopsy report on my nephew will still be due in four to six weeks," she said.

She also noted the conflicting reports on the shooting. When the Oakland Tribune broke the story on Sept. 9, it reported, “other occupants (in the motel) did not report hearing any arguing from the pair’s room. A security guard and a guest did hear gunfire just before the two were found."

The same report quoted Oakland’s Sgt. Alex Perez as saying that “the man shot the woman in the head with a pistol then shot himself. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:27 a.m. today. The semi-automatic pistol was registered to Francisco."

A subsequent follow-up story of the same newspaper the following day had mentioned “screams coming from Room 2511."

Rhoderick “Torque" Francisco, a cousin of the victim, said, “our family believe there is a foul play on the incident, the news that you learned about him is definitely based on the Internet news which was published. We are now hoping the girl will survive as she is the only living witness. We just like to know the truth and hope there is no cover up on the story as both victims are Filipino."

A one-day funeral service for Francisco was scheduled Saturday and viewing of his remains was at 1-9 p.m. at Colonial Chapel at 1000 Redwood St., Vallejo.

The remains are to be cremated “probably Sunday (Sept. 12) or Monday (Sept. 13)," said De la Cruz.

The parents of Francisco are still too distraught to talk to the media about the tragic death of their only child, she said.

De la Cruz said her nephew picked up his girlfriend from Oakland International Airport hours before the shooting incident. Abby, whom De La Cruz has not met, was to visit her mother, who is in the Bay Area.

Francisco also planned to introduce Abby to his parents, her aunt said.

Francisco was born in Malabon, one of the cities that form Metropolitan Manila in the Philippines. He immigrated to the United States in 2004 after taking up undergraduate program at University of the East in Caloolan City, Metro Manila. - GMANews.TV
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