Police: Bullet that killed girl fired nearby-A A +A
Friday, January 4, 2013
THE Philippine National Police (PNP) said Friday that the suspect who fired the stray bullet that killed a seven-year-old girl on New Year’s Eve was not too far from where the victim was standing.
Police Chief Inspector Joseph Palmero, PNP Medico Legal chief, said the fatal stray bullet was from a caliber .45 and was fired about 50 meters away from Stephanie Nicole Ella, who was then watching fireworks outside their house in Caloocan City.
She was hit by the bullet in the head and died on Wednesday afternoon at the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City after several cardiac arrests.
On the same day, a former military personnel identified as Juan Agos was arrested by the police along with three other men who were suspected of firing the stray bullet that killed Ella.
But Agos was immediately cleared of the crime after an examination showed the fatal bullet was not from his firearm.
PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima appealed to the public for any information that can help them identify the suspect who fired the stray bullet that victimized Ella.
"We, too, feel the pain as we have been in the forefront of making the New Year revelry safe for everybody. I assure the family of Nicole that we will do our best in the investigation and follow-up operation to bring justice to the victim," he said.
Aside from personally monitoring the case, the PNP chief said he has already directed all police commanders in all the areas where stray bullet victims were recorded to identify and map all gun holders within the 50 or 100-meter radius depending on the trajectory of the stray bullets to determine possible suspects.
Purisima added healso reminded police commanders to step up the house visitation not only as part of the accounting of loose firearms but also in determining if these guns with expired licenses were among those used in indiscriminate firing during the New Year revelry.
He said these reports could map future operations to prevent the repeat of stray bullet casualties.
“This tragic incident may not have happened if the use of firearms in the country were more strictly regulated, ensuring that there are no loose firearms,” said Senator Loren Legarda, adding guns should only be used for peace and order and to keep the people safe from crime.
Meanwhile, Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II ordered policemen to also track down the gun owner who fired the stray bullet that hit a 28-year-old housewife from Aklan.
The National Disaster and Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) earlier reported that a certain Mayette Miranda, resident of Barangay New Buswang, Kalibo, Aklan, was hit by a stray bullet on her right chest.
However, the NDRRMC also said on Wednesday that the present medical status of the victim, who was reporteldy confined at St. Gabriel Hospital has yet to be determined.
The Department of Health has so far recorded only 22 stray bullet victims as compared to 33 and 40 cases reported by the NDRRMC and PNP, respectively. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)