LAW enforcers captured yesterday dawn a motorcycle-for-hire driver believed to be involved in the shooting of foreign nationals inside a fast food restaurant in Talisay City.
The capture brought the number of arrested suspects to three, and the police have so far secured one confession.
A drug trafficking group that the foreigners had an argument with could be behind the shooting that killed a German industrial engineer, and wounded a French tourist and an Indian businessman.
The German was believed to have been mistaken for someone else.
“They are not just regular criminals. It’s more complicated than what we expected. We believe a drug group is involved,” said Supt. Rex Derilo, of the Regional Intelligence Division (RID) in the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7.
At 5 a.m. yesterday, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7 caught Roger Cal, 40, inside his house in Ruiz Compound, Barangay Tabunok, Talisay City.
Supt. Fermin Armendarez III, CIDG 7’s assistant regional chief, said the motorcycle-for-hire driver served as an accessory to the crime.
The police believe there were six people involved.
Seized from Cal was a .38 revolver with three live bullets.
The Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG), working under RID, also presented yesterday the second suspect who was arrested last Saturday afternoon in Sitio Neighborhood, Barangay Tabunok, Talisay City.
He was identified by police as Ricci Edwin Ramirez, 21, a trisikad driver.
He was one of the two gunmen caught by the restaurant’s security camera going after German national Heinrich Haffner, 31.
Based on the two stills taken from the footage, Ramirez wore a white sleeveless shirt and carried a gun of unknown caliber. The other gunman, clad in a white shirt and red shorts, went by the name Tata.
During his arrest by RSOG operatives, Ramirez had a .45 pistol with a magazine and four live bullets, and two big packs of a white crystalline substance believed to be shabu.
Derilo, also RSOG chief, said they are looking into the possibility of making Ramirez a state witness. The suspect has expressed interest in executing a judicial confession.
When interviewed by reporters yesterday, Ramirez admitted he was one of the gunmen and had shot Haffner thrice.
He said that Tata brought him along to teach the foreigners a lesson, and that he got the gun from Cal.
Ramirez said they didn’t intend to shoot Haffner, who was only drinking hot chocolate with his girlfriend Sheila Jane Gimutao, 24, outside the restaurant past 4 a.m.
The couple was waiting for their friends, whom they agreed to meet at the fast food place, because they were supposed to go to Oslob town.
“Sa tinuod lang, wala gyud ‘to sa plano. Si Tata ray niuna atog pamusil. Nagtuo ko mao to ang target (That wasn’t in the plan. Tata just started shooting, so I thought that German was the target),” he said.
Ramirez, who drives a trisikad for a living, said it was the first time that he got involved in such an attack. He refused to comment when asked about the drugs allegedly taken from his possession.
When asked who hired them to shoot the foreigners, he said he didn’t know. Tata just brought him along.
After the incident, he went home and prepared himself in case the police came looking for him. He said he also thought of surrendering. “Nahadlok lang ko unsa’y mahitabo nako (I was scared thinking about what might happen to me),” Ramirez said.
Cal, for his part, denied being involved in the crime.
He said that it was Ramirez, his neighbor, who took his motorcycle to the restaurant and brought him along.
“Blind ko nga ing-ato ilang buhaton. Wa gyud ko’y labot ana (I was blind to their plans. I had nothing to do with it),” Cal said, also denying he had given Ramirez a gun.
When CIDG operatives went to his house, he didn’t even resist because, he said, he knew he didn’t do anything wrong.
“Nisurrender ko kay gusto nako limpyohon akong pangan (I surrendered to clear my name),” Cal added. He was detained in the detention cell of CIDG 7.
Last Friday, the Talisay City Police Station arrested Allan Velos, 40, who was identified as the gunman who shot and wounded French national Julian Millard, 31, and Indian national Cheten Saparaiya, whom the police said operated a home-based call center.
The RID, RSOG, CIDG 7, Talisay City Police Station and Provincial Intelligence Branch of Cebu Provincial Police Office conducted a case conference yesterday in the PRO 7 to collate their evidences and discuss assignments to arrest other suspects.