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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

‘GHOST GUNMAN’

UNSEEN SHOOTER NAILS ROBBER

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

A BUSINESS couple and children in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo survived a robbery attempt past 6pm Sunday after one of the suspects was mysteriously shot in the chest.
Simeon Ruben, 60, and his wife Aida, 56, along with their daughter Sheila and an unidentified son were on their home to Fiammetta Subdivision, Barangay Tabuc Suba, Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo on board their Anfra van when three motorcycle riding men chased them at Barangay Tabuc Suba in the said town.
During the chase, the suspect right behind the driver opened fire at the van and hit the vehicle’s windshield and left front tire.
Aside from the trio, the Rubens also saw two more men on board another tricycle cruising from a distance.
The pursuit continued until they ended up in a heavily populated area of the subdivision.
Several residents came out when they heard the Rubens shout for help. Out of nowhere, gunshots erupted which hit one of the suspects on the chest.
The trio quickly fled from the scene and brought their wounded companion, who was later identified as Johnny Balsomo of Zerrudo Street, Barangay Sto. Rosario, Iloilo City Proper district, to the Passi District Hospital.
Balsomo was later transferred to the Western Visayas Medical Center. At the hospital, Sheila positively identified Balsomo as the one who drove the motorcycle.
Balsomo denied involvement in the Barotac Nuevo incident saying he was shot during an altercation at Dingle then later at Dumarao, Capiz.
However, police from the said areas denied the occurrence of any shooting incident in their area on Sunday.
According to the National Bureau of Investigation, Balsomo, a former Army member, was one of the suspects in robbery of Chicken Sari-Sari restaurant at Commission Civil Street, Jaro, Iloilo City.
Aida said she noticed something unusual while closing their grocery store at Barotac Nuevo town proper before going home to Fiammetta Subdivision.
Last June, Aida claimed receiving information from a friend that they are the target of a robbery gang.
The wife also denied that he husband shot Balsomo since “he has no weapon with him.”
“Maybe one of the residents who went out shot the suspects. My husband had no gun. It is impossible for him to shoot at the suspects,” she said.
The Rubens will file charges of attempted multiple homicide against Balsomo and his companions.
Barotac Nuevo police said they are still boggled by Balsomo’s shooting. (Published in the November 8, 2005 issue of The Guardian)

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