MANILA, Philippines?He shot first, but his camera was no match for an assassin?s caliber .45 pistol.
A barangay councilman?s final act of taking his loved ones? picture as the New Year arrived proved invaluable to investigators when the photograph he took also ?captured? the gunman taking aim at him with a handgun.
Councilman Reynaldo Dagsa of Barangay 35 in Maypajo, Caloocan City, was just outside his home right after midnight of January 1.
He was taking a picture of his wife, daughter and an elderly female relative on Tuna Street when a suspected car thief he had sent to jail appeared from behind a parked car and fired at him.
Dagsa sustained wounds on his right forearm and chest. He was rushed to nearby Martinez Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Dagsa?s relatives showed the picture to the authorities who later identified the gunman as Michael Gonzales, alias Fubo of Fish Pond Area I in the barangay.
Caloocan police chief Jude Santos said Gonzales was arrested late Monday afternoon in Dagupan, Tondo, Manila and is now under police custody.
Just behind the elderly relative in the photo was another suspect?Rommel Oliva, alias Balong who seemed to serve as a lookout.
Police said a second lookout identified as Francis Bumjal was also on the scene but was not in the picture.
Investigators said all three suspects were residents of Barangay 35. The two alleged lookouts still remain at large.
Chief Inspector Cresencio Galvez, Caloocan police intelligence chief, said the suspects were known car thieves and holduppers out on bail. It is likely that they bear a grudge against Dagsa who had them arrested last year, he said.
A manhunt has been launched for the two other suspects. Homicide charges will be filed against them.
A close family friend of the victim said Dagsa was a kindhearted man who was not known to have enemies. ?He was well loved by his family and friends,? the source said.
Police officers Galvez and Santos also vouched for the victim?s dedication as a barangay official.
Galvez described him as ?hardworking? while Santos said he was ?very active? in maintaining peace and order in the barangay.
Dagsa was a member of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team which helps the police in ?ensuring the effective prevention, control and suppression of crimes? and ?efficient management of disasters and emergencies.?