By: Jennifer P. Rendon
TWO persons were killed after a man went on shooting spree in San Jose, Antique early morning of Oct. 21, 2019.
Police Lieutenant Col. Mark Anthony Darroca, San Jose police chief, identified the fatalities as Ervin James Checa, 32, of Barangay Piape 1, Hamtic, Antique; and Ana Anacleto, 24, of San Remigio, Antique.
Both victims worked at RR Internet Station in Barangay Atabay.
The incident also injured four persons – two policemen, a media worker, and the suspect.
Darroca said Police Staff Sergeants Cyril Valdevieso and Albert Talidong responded to the crime scene when the suspect, 22-year-old Venom Dio Vergara, shot them.
The suspect also shot Stephen Louie Checa, 36, Ervin James’ older brother and correspondent for a local daily.
Darroca said they received a call from Stephen that a man was poking a handgun at his brother around 6:50 a.m.
But witnesses claimed they heard of a heated argument before the shooting incident happened.
The internet station is adjacent to a water refilling station owned by Vergara’s parents.
Police personnel on visibility patrol at a nearby school immediately responded.
But as the cops alighted from the PNP vehicle, the suspect repeatedly shot them. It was believed that the suspects began shooting even before the policemen arrived.
Valdevieso suffered a gunshot injury on his left arm while Talidong was hit on his left arm, right thumb, index finger, and middle finger. The latter also sustained a graze wound on the right temple.
The two fatalities both sustained gunshot injury on the head while Stephen Louie was hit on the shoulder.
Darroca said the suspect fled but responding cops were able to shoot him. He was later collared in the middle of a rice field at Atabay village, around 1 kilometer from the crime scene.
He was limping from gunshot injuries on his leg and bruises on the different parts of his body.
All injured victims and the suspect were rushed to Angel Salazar Memorial General Hospital in San Jose town.
Except for Stephen Louie, all three wounded persons were released from hospital confinement.
RADICAL, NOT MENTALLY-CHALLENGED
Darroca denied earlier reports that the suspect was suffering from nervous breakdown or depression.
Instead, he described Mangilaya as a radical person, akin to mass shooting suspects in the US.
“Hambal sang kapitan (village head) sa ila, pikon ni sya kuno,” he said.
The suspect used his father’s caliber .9mm pistol, which has an expired license, in shooting the victims.
When he was arrested, he told policemen, “Ginloko nila ko.”
Darroca said he cannot second guess what the suspect meant.
But reports claimed that the suspect was romantically pursuing Anacleto and was jealous of Ervin James.
But Darroca said they would dig deeper to determine what drove the suspect to go binge shooting.