Policewoman guns down robber in chance encounterBy Rhea Ruth V. Rosell
Cebu Daily News
The warning of PO2 Lea Juarez didn’t slow down two men who had just snatched a woman’s Iphone and wallet.
With one gunshot, 17-year-old Lyle Alex Cabornay was stopped dead in his tracks as he ran down a busy street a few meters from the Cebu Provincial Capitol.
His cousin 23-year-old Richard Baculi was chased by another policeman and was arrested.
The shooting took place past noon, soon after a female employee walking to Ayala Center for lunch was held up by two men riding a motorbike.
The chance encounter between police officers and a crime in progress will likely invite an investigation.
Although the slain thief was later identified by his victim, and Cabornay was armed, the shot intended to “neutralize” a fleeing offender was fatal.
At his age, if Cabornay had been arrested, he could have skipped jail detention and been required to undergo a government “diversion” program because he’s a minor.
PO2 Juarez, a four year policewoman with the Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) of the Cebu Provincial Police Office , said this was her first time to shoot a perpetrator but did so out of self defense.
During the chase, she said, Cabornay suddenly drew out a .45 caliber gun and faced her.
“Nagdinaganay, unya nibunot unya ni-atubang nako. Ingon ko nga pulis ni.” (We were running. He suddenly pulled out a gun and faced me. I told him I was a cop.) Juarez recalled.
She said she aimed for his lower body to “neutralize” him but since he was a moving target, the bullet hit his stomach.
“I had no intention to kill him,” she said.
Juarez was one of the police officers awarded last year for rescuing three children from a cybersex den in Cordova town last year.
The Iphone owner, 31-year-old Reychel Juntar, had her own skirmish with the hold-uppers when she fought back, shouted for help and grabbed back her phone.
There was a brief tug of war, where she was able to get her phone back only to lose it to finally to a hoodlum along with her wallet.
In the commotion, the woman tumbled down on the ground, suffering scrapes and bruises on her arms, left foot and one finger.
The Iphone, a smartphone with iconic status, sells for over P30,000 each.
Later at the police station, Juntar said she didn’t want to give up the phone so easily because she had paid cash for it.
The woman, an employee of Business Trends Inc. at the Pioneer Building in Cebu Business Park, said she was walking to the Ayala Center for lunch when she was stopped by the two men on a motorcyle.
At the time, two police officers on a motorbike were also passing by on the opposite lane.
P02 Suarez and her colleague PO2 Percival Perigo of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) had just come from a court hearing in the Palace of Justice and and were also heading for the mall for lunch.
PO2 Juarez, who rode in the backseat, said they stopped at a red traffic light and heard the commotion.
Juarez said she heard the woman cry “Gitulis ko!” (I’m being robbed.) and saw Caburnay snatch something from her before the woman rolled down the sidewalk gutter after wrestling for her phone.
This started the chase with the police officers on the tail of two men on a motorbike heading for barangay Guadalupe.
The two men were cornered on M. Velez Street about five meters from the exit gate of the Provincial Capitol.
There were many pedestrians on the street and traffic was heavy. The getaway motorbike fell on the ground.
PO2 Juarez chased Cabornay who ran towards the National Bureau of Investigation office a block away. Her partner went after the other cohort.
“Ako siya gigukod. Nibunot siya pero wala ka-point.” (I chased Cabornay. He pulled his .45 caliber but he didn’t point it at me.) Juarez told Cebu Daily News.
Cabornay ran for about 10 meters away from their motorcycle before he was gunned down.
Police recovered the stolen Iphone and brown wallet from Cabornay’s possession including an unlicensed .45 caliber gun with four live bullets.
Police took custody of the duo’s black Yamaha Mio.
A police background check showed that Baculi, who was arrested, faced several robbery complaints this year but the victims lost interest in filing charges in court.
PO2 Karl Del Mar of the Theft and Robbery Section (TRS) of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) said Baculi worked with four to five cohorts in his heists, including Cabornay.
Their targets were cellphones, laptops and other high-end gadgets.
“They were identified as partners in crime but the victims were afraid to file complaints,” said Del Mar.
A complaint for robbery and possession of illegal firearms will be filed today against Baculi, a resident of barangay Tisa, Cebu City.
Baculi denied that he was a robber.
“Igo ra ko ga-drive (I just drove the motorycle,” he said in Cebuano.