Cameras in precinct could have answered shooting questions - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Cameras in precinct could have answered shooting questions

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It was Monday night when murder suspect 35-year-old Dumitru Lobonav shot himself while in custody of the Guam Police Department. Had cameras been installed in the precinct, there would be fewer questions as to what really unfolded.

If a picture says a thousand words, imagine the power of video. "I wish I had the cameras installed when I was chief or even prior," Paul Suba told KUAM News. "It helps us to determine in the aftermath of an event, what did occur and who was involved." The former chief of police and now G4S Secure Solutions operations director says the company has already donated cameras to the Dededo and Tumon-Tamuning Precincts, with plans to donate to Hagatna and Agat.

"Most of the big cities, their police departments and county holding cells normally have a camera system. It's not only to prevent an incident from happening, it's in the aftermath. It helps deal with civil litigation. There's a number of reasons why they're important," Suba explained.

What became apparent immediately following Monday night's shooting was that there are no cameras in the Hagatna Precinct. The only footage from that night is the now-infamous video caught exclusively by KUAM.

According to the preliminary investigation released by GPD, Monday night's shooting at the Hagatna Precinct unraveled as a hostage situation. Following his arrest and minutes into processing, Lobonav managed to grab a female GPD detention officer's gun from her holster. A GPD detective who was also in the room then pulled out his gun and told Lobonav to put down the weapon. That's when Lobonav held the detention officer close to him before pulling the trigger on himself. Lobonav was the sole suspect in his wife's murder earlier this month.

Both officers, according to GPD spokesperson Officer A.J. Balajadia, are on administrative leave as the investigation continues as to what really happened that night.

Had cameras been installed at the precinct, Suba says officers may have been able to respond quicker.

Suba estimates it would cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 for initial installment per precinct. Cameras are useless however without proper monitoring. "I don't know if they would've helped in that particular case, unless people were paying attention to the monitor and observing what was going on - you're talking about the Hagatna Precinct - and then a supervisor identifying that maybe they needed to have more control of the individual when he was brought in," Suba speculated. "Definitely in the aftermath they would've been able to see and corroborate what the detective and the detention officer had stated."

Chief of Police Fred Bordallo has yet to release any further information on his plans for the department moving ahead in light of Monday's shooting.

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