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4 rob suspects killed in police encounters

Four robbery suspects were killed while two others were arrested in three separate encounters with police in Quezon City yesterday.

Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director Chief Superintendent Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar identified two of the slain suspects as Eduardo Gimenteza and Benedict Contreras. Probers are still establishing the identities of two other suspects.

Those arrested were identified as Mark Lee Mahinay and James Medrano.

Two of the suspects died after they engaged operatives of QCPD District Special Operations Unit led by Inspector Danilo Songalia in a shootout. The duo allegedly pulled a robbery at Uni-oil gasoline station on V. Luna Avenue corner Mapang-akig Street, Barangay Pinyahan around 12:23 a.m. yesterday, according to Eleazar.

Scene of the Crime Operatives (SoCO) recovered from the crime scene a .45-caliber Armscor pistol, a .38-caliber revolver, six 9mm empty cartridge cases, four spent shells for .40-caliber gun and one for caliber .45.

The third suspect was shot dead by off-duty cop PO2 Jolito Lantano while the former and two other suspects – Mahinay and Medrano – were staging a holdup inside a Valenzuela-bound bus at about 1:45 a.m. on EDSA/Kamias flyover in front of Kamuning Police Station 10 (PS 10).

PO2 Lantano, a member of the PNP Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG), ordered the bus driver to stop near a QCPD Station 10 patrol car on Quezon Avenue, leading to the arrest of Mahinay and Medrano.

Recovered from the arrested suspects were a .38-caliber revolver and a fan knife.

Around 5:30 a.m., suspect Contreras was killed when he tried to shoot responding cops who caught him brandishing a 12-gauge shotgun which he and two unidentified cohorts took away from one David Solomon, a security guard of Toyota Quezon Avenue branch.

The shooting incident happened in front of CCBE Enterprises at No. 1305 G. Araneta Avenue, Barangay Sto. Domingo, according to police report.

Eleazar commended his men and PO2 Lantano, who risked his life to save his fellow passengers. (FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD)