TALISAY City police arrested one of the suspects in the shooting of three foreigners inside a fast food joint in Barangay Tabunok on Friday dawn.
The shooting, which began with an argument between a group of Filipinos and foreigners, killed a German national and wounded a Frenchman and an Indian man.
Supt. Carmelo Dayon, the city police chief, identified the arrested man as Allan Velos, 35, of Barangay San Isidro, Talisay City.
Velos, he said, was involved in several robberies in the south and was previously linked to a shootout with Talisay City policemen last Jan. 22, during a follow-up operation.
A witness identified Velos as one of the alleged assailants who shot a Frenchman and an Indian man outside the restaurant.
The witness, Dayon said, was about to go inside to buy food when the shooting took place. He saw Velos and also knew him.
The police went to Velos’s house in Barangay San Isidro and caught him past 5 p.m.
But when interviewed by the police, Velos denied being involved in the shooting. He will be subjected to a paraffin test, which will show whether or not he recently fired a gun.
Henry Haffner, a 31-year-old tourist from Germany who was temporarily staying in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City, died from multiple gunshot wounds in his body, police said.
Wounded were French national Julian Millard, 31, and Indian national Cheten Saparaiya, 32, both living in Barangay Pooc, Talisay City. They are now confined in a government hospital and in stable condition.
The two gunmen, armed with .40 pistols, were videotaped by the establishment’s security cameras but they have yet to be identified, said Supt. Dayon.
Talisay police investigators are now seeking the help of police intelligence units in the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) and Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 who may have past criminal records of the gunmen in their files.
“Sa ilang ka-aggressive nga mopatay ug tawo nga gamay ra nga altercation, we believe they could be involved in (other) crimes (They were so aggressive to kill a person over such as minor altercation),” Dayon told Sun.Star Cebu.
CPPO Director Senior Supt. Noel Gillamac formed a team to help look for the suspects.
Talisay City Mayor Johnny de los Reyes called on the police, barangay and city officials to act together to capture the criminals and prevent similar attacks.
In a press statement, he urged the police to get to the bottom of the case; asked barangay tanods to be more visible in their communities to deter crimes; and urged City Hall officials to enforce security precautions, such as installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.
PO2 Edwin Campomanes, one of the investigators, said that Millard, his girlfriend and Saparaiya went to the fast food joint, located in Barangay Tabunok beside a shopping mall, to have snacks past 4 a.m. They sat at a table near the door.
Both foreigners went to the counter to order food, leaving Millard’s girlfriend alone. Sitting beside them was a group of Filipinos, two men and one woman.
Upon hearing Saparaiya order garlic rice, the other group made a snide remark that irked Millard’s girlfriend, Campomanes said.
This led to a confrontation where both foreigners reportedly got involved.
The other group left the establishment later and Saparaiya asked the management if they have security cameras, which he could used as evidence in reporting the group to authorities.
Haffner later arrived to meet his fiancée. They had planned to go swimming in Oslob town. He was already in his beach attire.
According to Haffner’s fiancee, they saw Saparaiya questioning the management. They ordered food and left.
While they were at the door, six armed men on three motorcycles arrived.
One of them suddenly shot Haffner in the shoulder, followed by several gunshots that broke the establishment’s door.
Haffner ran to the second floor and hid in the storage area. However, two gunmen followed him there and shot him several times, until he fell.
Police later found five empty shells and a deformed slug fired from a .40 pistol there.
Seconds after the shooting began, Millard and Saparaiya were peppered with bullets on the ground floor. Both foreigners were hit but managed to find their way to the comfort room, where they hid.
The huge window glass bore several bullet holes.
The police found 16 empty shells from a 9mm pistol; five empty shells from a .45 pistol; 11 deformed slugs fired from a gun of unknown caliber; and one deformed bullet outside the joint.
Haffner was brought by the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (ERUF) to Chong Hua Hospital, but he died few minutes after arriving at the hospital.
Millard and Saparaiya were rushed by Talisay Rescue Emergency Assistance Team (TREAT) to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), also in Cebu City.
Dayon, when interviewed by Sun.Star Cebu, said they believed Haffner was only mistaken for a friend of Millard and Saparaiya.
Dayon said they will also look into the possible liability of the security guard who allegedly hid when the gunfire began.
When Sun.Star Cebu visited the fast food joint yesterday, the establishment was closed.
A press statement sent by Adi Timbol, PR and communications manager, said that the restaurant was temporarily closed to give way to the investigation.
The management also assured that the safety of its customers and employees remains their top priority, and vowed to cooperate with the authorities.