IT TURNS out that the two soldiers killed here on Wednesday dawn's commotion inside a videoke bar in Agora, Lapasan apparently fell in the hands of a sharpshooter.
"He's a marksman. He can shoot like crazy `coz he's skilled with the guns," Chief Inspector Danildo Tumanda, head of City Public Safety Management Company (CPSMC), said referring to Police Inspector Anselmo Ladra who remains at large as of presstime.
Ladra, who is with the Philippine National Police in Zamboang Peninsula (PNP-9), was used to be assigned here at the Regional Police Office (RPO-10) in Camp Alagar.
It was during his stint with RPO-10 that Ladra earned the reputation as "No.1 sharpshooter" among his peers.
"He's a deadly shooter and well-respected when the topic goes to the shooting range," another police officer familiar with Ladra, said.
Cpl. Roque Tagalongan and Sergeant Michael Seno, both members of the 23rd Infantry Batallion (23IB) of the 4ID, and one civilian Leo Acedo, 32, of San Juan Lapasan, were fatally shot in a melee that broke out of C & N Videoke Bar along Valenzuela Road near the Agora bus terminal.
What transpired, police said, were likened by witnesses to a bloody action flick starring Clint Eastwood in the manner the suspect dispatched off the victims--one after the other.
"Maayo gyod siya sa pusil ug paspas manlihok so, ni-match ang discription sa mga witnesses sa iyang linihokan the way nga siya mamusil (He's really good with the guns and the witnesses' accounts fitted well to Ladra's mean character and smart ability)," Tumanda told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
Manhunt operation jointly conducted by the City Public Safety Management Company (CPSMC) and Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (Cidu) of Cagayan de Oro City Police (Cocpo) revealed that Ladra was sighted in a Misamis Oriental town.
This, as Ladra's commanding officer in Zamboanga Peninsula failed to establish contact with him, Tumanda further said.
Meanwhile, the American national Michael Turner and Senior Police Officer 1 Rolando Gomonit who were reportedly with Ladra during the incident denied any participation of the crime.
Both Turner and Gomonit said they went ahead of Ladra out of the sing-along joint afterwhich noticing something wrong with Ladra's behavior.
As Turner swears to cooperate with the investigation, Gomonit was reporting on duty specifically at the RIO-10 office in Camp Alagar when authorities pounced on him.
Under custody by Cidu, Gomonit was later turned over to his commanding officer in Camp Alagar.
"SPO1 Gomonit has long been a member in good standing with the Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental Chess Club. He's not known for any violent action in the past and is, in fact, a very humble, respectful and patient fellow," said the former president of the local chess club.
"We're just hoping and praying that Mr. Gomonit is truly innocent in this case," some club members said in unison. (With LLS reports)