A RETIRED US Army soldier was gunned down by a man on motorcycle outside his house in Barangay Balud, Dalaguete, Cebu late Thursday afternoon.

Stephen Ray Gornto, 53, was shot while waiting for a car dealer at the gate of his house in Sitio Poo past 5 p.m., police said.

Insp. Rico Emperwa, Dalaguete Police Station chief, said the American had at least 10 gunshot wounds.

Personal grudge is being eyed by investigators as possible motive.

Emperwa told Sun.Star Cebu that Gornto has been a subject of complaint from some residents. He was also embroiled in a fight with a British national last week.

“He was reportedly an Irag war veteran. The war could have affected him because he acts differently when drunk,” he said.

Before the incident, the assailant stopped in a nearby store, some 50 meters away from Gortno’s house, and ordered a bottle of beer. He was wearing a pair of cargo shorts and white sweatshirt.


Emperwa believed the assailant was only monitoring Gornto in case the American went outside.

He got the chance when Gornto went out through the gate to wait for a car dealer from Oslob. The gunman, wearing a helmet, shot the victim.

The gunman fled towards Argao, but was filmed by Dalaguete’s closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera installed in Barangay Poblacion. He was driving a white Yamaha Mio with yellow-orange color on its sides.

A team from the PNP Regional Crime Laboratory Office 7 recovered 13 empty shells and a deformed slug at the crime scene. These will be subjected to a ballistic examination.

His wife took Gornto to Julio Cardinal Rosales Memorial Hospital in the town proper. But he didn’t make it there alive.


Emperwa, during the interview, said Gornto had a fight with a British national in Charito’s Dalaguete Bar and Grill last June 20.

At the height of their fight, Gornto reportedly struck the British national with a

hard object, injuring him on the right ear.

The incident was reported to Dalaguete Police Station, but both parties agreed to settle the matter.

Emperwa said they are now looking for the British national who had already left the country last Monday.

The British national is married to a Filipino and has been living in Dalaguete for some time.

“Posible nga naglagot ni siya og maayo sa biktima. Dato kaayo kuno ni kay mohatag ni P300,000 sa mga pista-pista (It’s possible he got very angry at the victim),” he said.

Gornto had only been in Dalaguete for two months. He was renting a house, together with his wife. They came from Tacosalma, Tarlac. His wake is being held in Lagahid Funeral Homes in Alcoy town. DSM/Nheru Veraflor, USJR MassComm Intern