2 dead, 4 tanods wounded in shooting

The body of a barangay kagawad who was killed by one of the two curfew violators in a checkpoint at Barangay Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Murcia Municipal Police Station)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – Two persons, including a village councilman died, while four barangay watchmen were wounded in a shooting incident at a checkpoint in Barangay Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental.

The victims were assigned to the checkpoint to apprehend curfew violators at the height of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) threat.

Killed was Kagawad Rex Dalmacio, who was also a retired soldier. Another casualty in the incident was Joenel Cardinal, 32, of Barangay Canlandog.

Wounded were Romeo Canoy, 44; Samuel Ciocon,59; Rommel Udani, 39; and Alex Losorio, 59. They are confined in a hospital.

Police Major Robert Dejucos, Murcia police chief, said Dalmacio and the four watchmen flagged down Cardinal and Alfredo Agustin Jr., 38, of Barangay Canlandog, who were on board a motorcycle, for violating the curfew hours.

The town is implementing a curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. the following day, as part of the precautionary measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dejucos said that the watchmen were supposed to take the curfew violators to the police station when a commotion ensued between Dalmacio and Agustin.

Dejucos said that Agustin drew his firearm but Dalmacio subdued him which resulted in a scuffle.

Dalmacio was hit during a commotion and fell to the ground. Agustin also fired his gun at the watchmen thinking they might mob him.

Dejucos said Dalmacio subdued Agustin and they scuffled again for the gun until Cardinal and the barangay official were hit, resulting in their immediate death.

Agustin fled but he was arrested in a pursuit operation the following day after some residents saw him walking with injuries on his leg.

“He’s armed and dangerous,” Dejucos said, as he believed that Agustin is part of a gun-for-hire group.

Police recovered from Agustin a .45-caliber pistol. He said that Dalmacio’s firearm cannot be found.

Dejucos said the suspects refused to be taken to the police station before the shooting because Agustin knew that he was the subject of an arrest warrant for murder.

He said that both suspects came from Bago City and were on their way home when they were flagged down at the checkpoint around 11:40 p.m. Thursday.

He added that the checkpoint is not the usual anti-criminality checkpoint manned by cops.

“It was a checkpoint to monitor those who will violate the curfew hours. It was supposed to restrict the movement of people from going in and out of the town during the curfew,” he said.

Dejucos said they will investigate Cardinal’s background.

Meanwhile, Agustin said in a media interview that the tanods allegedly shot him during a commotion that’s why he also suffered gunshot wounds.

But Dejucos said that the tanods had no firearms.

“If they have firearms, he (Agustin) might have been killed as well,” he added.

Dejucos said Agustin will face murder charges.

Agustin denied killing Dalmacio, claiming he did not know what exactly happened.

Dejucos said they will talk to the wounded tanods as part of their investigation.