Ambush suspect shot by Talisay police after resisting arrest

Posted on February 27, 2012

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He vowed that he won’t be caught alive by police.
But 39-year-old Tommy Echavez wasn’t lucky enough to keep his vow after Talisay police pursued him in barangay sitio Cadicay, Lawaan III, in Talisay City yesterday.

Echavez, tagged as the gunman in the Feb. 1 ambush of a lawyer’s wife and two of her companions, sustained gunshot wounds on his face and body after he fled from police.

Echavez has a pending arrest on illegal firearms possession.

Talisay City police received information of Echavez’s presence at 8:32 a.m. yesterday.

Echavez was standing outside a relative’s house located 50 meters away from the highway at the time.

Five policemen went to sitio Cadicay to serve the arrest warrant issued by Judge Soliver Peras of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 10.

They said Echavez, who was armed with a .45 pistol, saw them and locked himself up in the house.
Critical condition
The policemen immediately surrounded the house but Echavez jumped out of the back window.

He fired back at the police while he fled but was unable to hit any of them.

SPO1 Mikie Espina immediately fired back and hit Echavez, who slumped on the ground.

Despite his wound, Echavez tried to shoot Espina but was shot in the face by PO3 Ferdinand Pablo instead.

Police recovered from Echavez a .45 pistol, a magazine, a hand grenade, two cell phone units and a wallet. Two empty shells were found in the crime scene.

Echavez was rushed by police to the Talisay City District Hospital and was then transferred to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in critical condition.

Police produced an artist sketch of Echavez last Feb. 2 based on the accounts of five witnesses in the ambush of Virginia Sesbreño and her two companions, Soledad Epanto and Marlon Joshua Young.

Sesbreño was with the 50-year-old Epanto and 31-year-old Young inside an Isuzu pickup when two men on a red motorcycle waylaid them in barangay Kimba Cansojong, Talisay City.

Mastermind

In a phone interview, SPO1 Espina said Echavez does not stay in one place.

“Dili siya padakop nga buhi (He won’t allow himself to be captured alive,” Espina recalled Echavez’s friends as saying.

Espina said Echavez didn’t speak a word when he slumped on the ground after the shooting incident.

Witnesses claimed that Echavez was the backrider and the gunman of the Feb. 1 ambush.

Espina said Echavez’s background check revealed that he was detained in the Pardo police precinct last Nov. 2011 and posted bail on the same month.

“He (Echavez) was scheduled for a hearing but he did not show up,” Espina said in Cebuano.

Espina said that Echavez was also a “gun-for-hire.” He said Echavez will soon undergo a paraffin test.

Charges of illegal firearms possession will be filed against Echavez today.

Atty. Raul Sesbreño said he hopes Echavez will live so he can tell police the identity of the mastermind behind the murder of his wife and her companions.

The Sesbreño family is embroiled in a land dispute case with illegal settlers in Talisay City. Police have yet to verify if the ambush was related to the ongoing land dispute. /Rhea Ruth V. Rosell, Correspondent

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