3 alleged gun-for-hire suspects die in Batangas shootout
Three suspected members of a gun-for-hire group were killed after engaging in a firefight several policemen manning a checkpoint at Barangay Bilogo in Taysan, Batangas on Thursday morning.
According to reports from the Batangas Provincial Police Office, officers from the Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit and the Taysan Municipal Police Station set up a checkpoint to intercept alleged gun-for-hire members Solomon Panal, Virgilio Hernandez, and Efren Cruzada.
During their operation, a grey Toyota Hi-Ace van with licensed plate number RDJ-679 tried to evade the checkpoint by speeding up. The van did not heed calls from authorities to stop and instead shot at the surveillance team.
The police then gave a chase, leading to a brief encounter. Responding operatives were only able to secure the crime scene after the suspects, revealed to be Panal, Hernandez, and Cruzada, stopped firing.
Teams from the Taysan Police’s Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) have been deployed to investigate the incident.
Batangas police said that the trio have been involved in series of attacks and robbery incidents in Batangas, in Pampanga, Bulacan, and Metro Manila. They are being blamed for the killing of an inmate of the Batangas Provincial Jail and a seven-year-old child, among others.
Prior to the operation, authorities received a report that the group was targeting a businessman in the town. Police believe that the successful neutralization of the group will lessen the spate of violence in the province. /jpv
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