LIBERTAD, Misamis Oriental - Two people were killed on the spot, including a police officer, Monday evening at around 8pm (February 17) during a sudden exchange of bullets at a checkpoint in Libertad town, Misamis Oriental, between police operatives manning the checkpoint and five heavily-armed suspects on board a white Mitsubishi vehicle.
During initial investigation conducted by the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO), one dead body was found at the crime scene, shoes, illegal drugs, wallet and identification cards, a gray Mitsubishi Mirage vehicle owned by the suspects, and 48 empty shells of high-caliber pistols.
Those who died from the police side after the gun battle was identified as Ssgt Ronald Caayupan, while the other dead person from the suspect's side was unknown at press time. Caayupan was still rushed to the nearest hospital after he was shoot by one of the five suspects. He sustained a fatal shot on his neck but he expired at the hospital.
Board member Dexter Yasay in an interview with a local radio station said Sgt Caayupan flagged down a white Mitsubishi Mirage vehicle but instead of stopping the vehicle, the suspects opened fire at the policemen manning the checkpoint which resulted in several minutes of gun battle. Afterwhich, four suspects fled from the crime scene and jumped off at the bridge and eluded arrest from responding police operatives.
Those who were wounded during the skirmishes were identified as Police officer Fernando Maestrado and Gemma Patlunag, a civilian. They were immediately rushed to the nearest hospital for treatment.
Misamis Oriental Governor Vincente Yevgeny (Bambi) Emano also told reporters the Provincial Government will extend some help to the immediate families of the police who died, as well as those wounded policemen taken to the hospitals for treatment.
Meanwhile, a team of police operatives are now pursuing the suspects believed still in the town of Libertad but were only hiding.
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