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Village chief, 4 others killed in shootout

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CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga – Five suspected members of a private armed group, including a barangay captain, were killed in a shootout with the police before dawn yesterday in Barangay Cupang, Arayat, Pampanga.

Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, Central Luzon police director, identified the suspects as Melvin Guevarra, chairman of Barangay Cupang; Aldrin Luriz, Fermin Bato, and Jack Pineda.

The fifth fatality has yet to be identified.

Aquino said that the Pampanga and Arayat police arrived in the area to implement a search warrant for illegal possession of firearms issued by a court in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija against the suspects at around 2 a.m.

The suspects resisted arrest and opened fire at the lawmen. A 40-minute shootout ensued that wounded the suspects and a policeman, PO3 Raffy Tacdiran.

The suspects and Tacdiran were taken to a hospital in Arayat. The fatalities were declared dead on arrival and Tacdiran is out of danger.

Recovered from the suspects were two M4 Baby Armalite rifles, two caliber .45 pistols, one caliber .38 revolver, and two Armalite rifle magazines.

Police said the suspects were members of a private armed group and allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
(Mar T. Supnad)