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Three suspected carnappers were killed Sunday night when they shot it out with policemen manning a checkpoint while aboard a taxicab they earlier grabbed from its driver in Quezon City.
The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) identified one of the suspects as Archilles Velasco, 22, tricycle driver, a resident of Luzon Avenue, Barangay Pasong Tamo.
Probers have yet to establish the identities of the two other slain suspects who bore tattoo marks on their body.
The suspects, along with another cohort, reportedly engaged operatives of QCPD’s District Special Operations Unit (DSOU) and Anti-Carnapping Unit (ANCAR) in an firefight as they tried to evade a checkpoint while onboard a stolen taxi along North Avenue in Barangay Vasra around 11:45 p.m.
The suspects’ cohort managed to escape at the height of the gunfight.
Prior to the incident, 66-year-old cab driver Alberto Topacio told police that he was traversing E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue when the four suspects boarded his taxi unit (AAY-6451) and asked to be conveyed to Barangay Sikatuna Village.
Upon reaching Kamias Road, the men, at gunpoint, declared the heist and shoved him out of the vehicle.
One of the suspects then took control of the taxi and sped off.
Topacio immediately reported the carnapping incident to the QCPD headquarters in Camp Karingal, prompting the DSOU-ANCAR operatives to set a checkpoint to intercept the stolen vehicle.
Nine DSOU-ANCAR cops were manning a checkpoint in front of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center on North Avenue when they spotted Topacio’s cab.
As the police flagged down the vehicle, the suspects drew their handguns and opened fire at the lawmen, triggering a gunfight.
Police brought the three wounded suspects to the East Avenue Medical Center but they were declared dead on arrival due to several gunshot wounds.
The fourth suspect, who served as their driver, eluded arrest and is now the subject of a manhunt operation.
Crime scene investigators found at the site of the encounter a loaded .45-caliber pistols and 12 spent shells from still undetermined type of guns.
Police recovered Topacio’s taxicab. (VANNE ELAINE P. TERRAZOLA)