GRADE 6 students of Binlod Elementary School in Argao town never thought that a man whom they thought was a mere visitor will turn out to be the person who’d kill their teacher in front of them.
The still unidentified person greeted the class, which greeted him “good afternoon, visitor” in return.
When Romeo Aguirre Duran, 52, single, asked the “visitor” what he wanted, the man pulled out a gun then shot the teacher in the head.
Duran, who hails from Cabangcalan, Negros Occidental, died on the spot after taking a bullet in the left side of his face.
No empty shell or slug was recovered at the crime scene.
The suspect and his three cohorts, all waiting aboard a red motorcycle, hurriedly fled when the students began to panic.
The terror-stricken pupils shouted for help, with some of them breaking into tears upon seeing their wounded teacher, said P01 Eduardo Semilla, one of the responding policemen from the Argao Police Station.
Semilla said Duran was leading his class in checking test papers shortly after an exam when the suspect entered the classroom around 3 p.m.
The students told Semilla that the gunman wore a blue shirt, ball cap and dark sunglasses. He also had tattoos—Spiderman on the neck and a cross on the leg.
After the attack, the suspects fled towards the north. Barangay Binlod, an uphill village, is about five kilometers away from the town proper.
Acting Cebu Provincial Police Office Director Erson Digal has ordered a manhunt for the gunman and his accomplices.
Ingracia Alcain, officer-in-charge of the Binlod Elementary School, told Sun.Star Cebu in a separate interview that she gathered from the students that one suspect served as driver while the other two served as lookouts.
Semilla said all angles are being looked into in the attack. He believes, though, that the attacker was a gun-for-hire.
Police, however, are verifying reports that Duran had a quarrel with his siblings due to money matters.
Alcain said Duran was the eldest of his family and is considered the breadwinner.
Due to his conflict with his siblings, Duran asked his family to leave Cebu and return to Bacolod.
Since then, Duran has been living alone near the school where he was wor-king. He, however, had relatives in Barangay Tulic, also in Argao.
Co-teachers and students described Duran as a kind person and a good teacher, Semilla said.
“When we went to the crime scene, even students from other grade levels wept,” Semilla said.
Semilla and Alcain said Duran had no known enemy in the area and was never involved in any criminal activity in the community.
Alcain, meanwhile, said she is now concerned about the psychological being of the students following the attack. (JTG/JKV)