Seven killed in Manila shootout


Fri, Apr 25, 2008 - Page 4

Police officers trying to stop alleged robbers opened fire at a busy bridge in the Philippine capital in a shootout that left seven people dead, including two bystanders in a car, officials said yesterday.

Police said the shootout on Wednesday, one of the bloodiest in Manila in recent years, erupted after the gunmen fired at officers who tried to stop their van at a police checkpoint near the bridge.

Manila police chief Roberto Rosales first reported that four suspected robbery gang members were killed on the spot and three others died in the hospital.

However, Metropolitan Manila police chief Geary Barias said yesterday he was informed that two civilians were among those killed and ordered an investigation.

“I knew nothing about it when I inspected the scene of the incident,” Barias told Radio DZRH.

He said he wants to know if police committed any lapses in judgment. He said it was not clear if it was police or the gunmen who shot at the bystanders.

The two men, including a manager at a local brewery, were inside their car when the gunmen allegedly tried to commandeer it in the middle of the shootout with police. They got out when they were hit by bullets, police said.

Another police officer, Superintendent Mario Espino, said the suspects, some of them suspected in other robberies, were allegedly on the way to strike again when they were intercepted.