A POLICE officer and an armed man were killed while another policeman and a civilian were wounded in a gun battle Monday evening, February 17, near a police checkpoint in Libertad, Misamis Oriental.
Investigators are looking into the activities of the armed men, who were found in possession of several firearms and sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu).
"Gi-determine pa nato ang ilang grupo tungod sa magnitude sa ebidensya," said Misamis Oriental Provincial Police Director Colonel Robert Roy Bahian.
Killed were Staff Sergeant Ronald Caayupan and one of the suspects identified as Jephone Tinamisan, 33, a resident of Ozamiz City.
Wounded were Chief Master Sergeant Fernando Maestrado and a female civilian living near the site of the encounter who was hit by a stray bullet believed to have come from the suspects.
Bahian said the shootout ensued after five armed men on board a white Mitsubishi Mirage fired at the seven police officers manning a security checkpoint along the national highway in Poblacion, Libertad town.
Caayupan sustained a fatal gunshot wound to his left chest while Maestrado was hit on his left thigh.
Bahian said the armed men stepped off the car and ran towards the bridge as the police returned fire.
Tinamisan was hit and killed. Another suspect, identified as Richard Son Perez, was arrested during hot pursuit operations early Tuesday morning. The three other armed men escaped.
"After nila pusil sa mga police nagdungan sila og gawas ug niadto sa tulay ug niambak. Napatay ang usa sa suspek ug nadakpan ang isa nga napiang after niambak," Bahian said.
"Naay civilian nadaplisan pero stable na ang condition posible gikan to sa mga perpetrators kay makita sa trajectory," he added.
Perez, 31, a resident of Cebu City, is now detained and will face charges. He claimed that he had no knowledge about the firearms that were found in the car.
"Gitawagan ko kay naa daw mi adtoon sa Tubod, Lanao. Wala ko kabalo anang mga armas," the suspect said.
Investigators recovered an MK4 Colt pistol, caliber 45 pistol, Intratic 9mm Luger Tec KG9 pistol, Armscor 9mm, Kimber Ultra Carry, four fragmentation grenades and fired bullets, aside from the suspected shabu.
Bahian said the armed group was travelling from Cagayan de Oro towards Lanao area when they came upon the policemen.