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4 dead, another hurt in Ecija shooting rampage

  • Written by Steve A. Gosuico
  • Published in Provincial
  • Read: 510

LAUR, Nueva Ecija -- Four persons, including two women, were killed while another was wounded when unidentified Armalite-wielding men peppered them with bullets here last Saturday, police said yesterday.

Killed were Elijo Barbado, 53, married, a Danilo bus driver; Gaudecio Bagalay, 58, married, farmer; Emerencia dela Rosa, 58, married, all of Sitio Baterya, Bgy. Bagting, Gabaldon; and Violeta Mercado, 57, married, an OFW, of Bgy. Mapalad, Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija.
Wounded was Angelita Milan, 50, married, farmer, of Bgy. Calabasa, Gabaldon.
Provincial police director Senior Supt. Manuel E. Cornel said the attack was pulled off at Sitio Minalkot, Bgy. San Isidro, at 2:30 p.m.
The victims were constructing a nipa hut on a farm lot when a group of armed men brandishing Armalite rifles suddenly emerged from different directions and fired successive shots at them.
Police said the wounded victims tried to hide underneath a bamboo bed but the suspects still pursued and tried to finish them off.
Cornel said Milan survived the carnage as she got wounded only in the leg and was able to escape.
Police said the shooting incident was reported by Anastacio Gregorio, 62, of Bgy. 1, Laur, Nueva Ecija.
A team from the Provincial Crime Laboratory Office led by Chief Insp. Jebie Timario recovered several fired cartridge cases for cal. 5.56 at the crime scene.
Police are still investigating the motive behind the incident.
Meanwhile, Army’s 7th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Angelito M. de Leon yesterday condemned the massacre of four farmers and the wounding of another  in Laur, Nueva Ecija last Saturday.
De Leon also denied any insinuations that the Army was involved in said carnage, saying the area where the shooting took place was no longer part of the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation.
7th ID spokesperson 1st Lt. Catherine E. Hapin said the area has actually been turned over to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) by virtue of Executive Order 448 and the 7ID no longer holds jurisdiction over it. 
De Leon also directed his command to help and coordinate with the Nueva Ecija police in conducting the probe to be able to identify and arrest the culprits.