A noted gun-for-hire who has been tagged as suspect in various killings in Buenavista, including the murder of a militiaman and a barangay captain, struck again as he allegedly shot and injured a 20-year-old resident of the town on Wednesday night.
According to Buenavista police investigator PO3 Nicolas Aparella, Enrique Añocop was shot two times in Baranagay Putingbato as he was driving a motorcycle along a secluded area in the said village at around 6 p.m.
Authorities tagged Emidio Aparece, Jr., a resident of the said village and an alleged hitman who has had armed encounters with lawmen in 2016 and 2017, as suspect in the killing of Añocop.
Aparella said that the suspect waited for Añocop in a dimly lit area and immediately fled the scene on board a motorcycle after the shooting incident.
Añocop was rushed to a hospital as he sustained gunshot wounds in his right chest and leg.
He is now in stable condition but is still being treated for his injuries at the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City.
According to Aparella, police have yet to identify the motive behind the shooting but a hot pursuit operation has been launched against the suspect.
In 2017, Aparece was able to elude arrest as he engaged police and army personnel in a brief gunfight before escaping into the hinterlands of Buenavista.
Aparece and two armed companions repeatedly shot at the authorities while retreating toward a grassland as they escaped.
No one was injured during the encounter.
However, in 2016, two of Aparece’s companions were shot and killed by police in another attempt to arrest the alleged hitman in Buenavista.
After allegedly firing shots at police, Aparece immediately fled along with one Rolando Cosef leaving behind other members of his group including Jiggs Laruga and Kenken Abanda who were killed during the operation.
Laruga and Abanda were wanted for attempted homicide and frustrated murder, respectively.
Aparece has been tagged as suspect in multiple killings including that of Benedicto Melencion, a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit, on March 22, 2017.
He was also pinpointed as the suspect in the killing of barangay councilor Ursolo Petalcorin and barangay captain Antonio Neones, Sr. on February 22, 2017 and September 2, 2016, respectively.
Police also held him responsible for the killing of one Jessie Versaga on February 18, 2017 in Buenavista. (Allen Doydora)