Thu, 30 Nov 2000

Police give conflicting statements on shooting

JAKARTA (JP): The motive behind Tuesday's shooting of three West Jakarta Police officers by a colleague remains in the dark as their superiors gave contradictory statements on Wednesday about the incident.

Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Mulyono Sulaiman said on Wednesday that the shooter, First Insp. Tasman Manurung, was suffering from depression when he committed the murders. Mulyono also said that Tasman had a history of mental disturbance.

"I have reprimanded the West Jakarta Police chief for failing to pay proper attention to his men. He should never have allowed Tasman to carry a gun, especially as he had suffered from stress in 1997," Mulyono told reporters at Jakarta Police Headquarters.

Mulyono said that according to witnesses, Tasman looked confused prior to the fatal shootings. During the daily inspection that morning, Mulyono said, Tasman was seen hanging around the precinct with his shirt not tucked into his pants.

"His fellow officers reprimanded him and took him into a room for a talk," Mulyono explained. This, however, only enraged Tasman and he pulled out his gun.

However, West Jakarta Police chief Iwan Nurisman Ismet denied the allegation that Tasman had once suffered from stress.

"He had been ill once but that was because of an acute ulcer," Iwan told reporters at Jakarta Police Headquarters after meeting with Mulyono.

Iwan said that Tasman was asleep in a room at the station that morning after being on night duty when one of the dead officers patted his behind and asked him where the night shift log book was.

"Tasman then suddenly drew his revolver and shot the officers. He was probably still half-asleep when he opened fire," Iwan said.

Two officers, the precinct's auto theft unit chief First Insp. I Putu Eka Ishwara and the police adjutants' unit chief First Insp. Zubaidi Ishak, died instantly after being shot in the left temple and right eye respectively.

Inventory unit chief First. Insp. Mukidi struggled with Tasman but was shot in the left thigh.

Tasman was arrested by city police internal affairs officers after the murder, while Mukidi was brought to the Pelni Petamburan Hospital for treatment.

Psycho test

When contacted separately by The Jakarta Post on Wednesday, police observers said that police officers should undergo regular psychological testing to prevent such an incident occurring again.

"This fatal shooting proves that some of our police officers are mentally unstable. It's not the first such incident," Adnan Pandupraja, the secretary general of Indonesian Police Watch, said.

Several months ago, a police officer with the West Jakarta Police shot himself dead while suffering from paranoid delusions.

Criminologist Adrianus Meliala shared Adnan's opinion, saying that superior officers should keep a close watch on their subordinates so as to detect any possible mental disturbances that they might be suffering from.

"The superiors should send their subordinates to the headquarters psychiatric unit if they show any symptoms of mental illness," he said.

Iwan supported the idea, saying that West Jakarta Police personnel would undergo more intensive psychiatric testing in the future.

"We will check out any of our officers who are suspected of suffering any kind of mental illness, to determine whether they are fit to carry weapons or not. We will also intensify psychological training for them," he said.

Iwan stressed that any officers who were found to be mentally unstable would be given desk jobs, for example

Meanwhile, the family of Tasman have left their rented bungalow on Jl. Bojong Raya in Rawa Buaya subdistrict, West Jakarta, which is in the grounds of a house belonging to local figure Haji Mukti.

The modest 30-square-meter bungalow consists of a living room, kitchen and bedroom and is rented for Rp 250,000 per month.

"Tasman's wife and two children left on Tuesday at around 2 p.m. She refused to say where she was going, but most likely she went to stay with her relatives," said Mukti.

Tasman's wife is six months pregnant. His eldest son Briando is an elementary school student, while his second son Rolaas Priangga is still at kindergarten.

The officer's family moved to the area four months ago after their house in the Tamansari police complex, West Jakarta was demolished to make way for a development.

Tasman had also started renovating an old house located some 200 meters away from the bungalow. Building materials, such as sand and cement, were to be seen scattered in front of the 6- square-meter by 10-square-meter house.

"Tasman wanted to finish the renovation soon. He had even told me that he planned to move to the house last Saturday. I thought he was under stress as the work wasn't finished," Mukti's wife said.

Mukti added that he knew nothing about Tasman's personal problems. "He's a quiet man. But, we haven't seen him go to church recently," Mukti said.(jaw/asa)