By LITO RULONA
THE officer-in-charge of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) yesterday said investigators were not ruling out the possibility that a murder suspect being pursued by the police was the one who wounded civilians, including a child, during a botched police operation in Puerto on Thursday night.
Lt. Col. Reynante Reyes, officer-in-charge of the Cagayan de Oro City Police office, said the bullets that hit civilians in the crowded area may have come from the gun of one Jojo Rosales.
Rosales, wanted for murder, was the man supposedly being pursued by S/Sgt. Arman Tagolimot of the Misamis Oriental Provincial Police Office in Puerto who ended up engaging another policeman, Chief M/Sgt. Jose Ryan Sevillano of the Puerto police, in a gunfight.
“Nag-indiscriminate firing sab siya (Rosales) sa iyang pusil,” Reyes said.
Lt. Col. Mardy Hortillosa, city police spokesman, said Rosales’s caliber. 38 revolver “misfired.” Crime scene investigators didn’t find anything from a caliber .38 revolver at the crime scene; what they found were six caliber .45 pistol cartridges, three deformed caliber .45 bullets, and five 9mm cartridges at the site of the “misencounter.”
Sevillano , according to Reyes, responded when he heard a gunshot that hurt 29-year-old Jaymar Canencia, and he supposedly mistook Tagolimot as a lawless element.
Reyes said Sevillano used his gun against Tagolimot, resulting in a misencounter.
He said while Sevillano and Tagolimot were shooting at each other, Rosales kept firing his gun while fleeing.
Lt. Col. Surki Sereñas, Camp Alagar spokesman, said an investigation into the gunbattle in a thickly populated area would identify who was at fault.
“Kinahanglan mahibaw-an kinsa ang sal-an sa shooting incident, ngano nag-encounter sa daghan tawo nga anaa sa palibot,” Sereñas said.
He said Camp Alagar was waiting for a report from the police in the city.
Reyes said said he spoke with the two wounded police officers and they were consistent with their statements that point to a “misecounter.”
“Halos pareha gyud ilang mga tubag. Uncontrolled events happened,” Reyes said.
Three more civilians, including a child, were caught in the crossfires. They were identified as Mary Ann Ordaña, 27; Elenita Salina, 45; and 12-year-old Darlene Vim Eduave.