Philippine police says 16 dead in robbery shootout
Sixteen people died after suspected robbers engaged police in a shootout outside the headquarters of a transport firm in a Manila suburb, police said Saturday.
Highway police and special operatives acting on an informant's tip were deployed to the transport firm's office but were spotted by the robbers and met by a volley of gunfire, according to police chief inspector Glenn Tigson's official report, Reuters reported.
Eight robbers inside a sports utility vehicle died on the spot after the policemen returned fire. A second vehicle with two thieves on board sped away during the crossfire but was chased by the police.
The two robbers later abandoned their vehicle and grabbed a motorcycle from a passing motorist but were intercepted by police who shot and killed the suspects on the spot.
A father and his 7-year-old daughter on board a passing sports utility vehicle were also hit in the crossfire and later died. Two other people manning a truck near the office of the transport firm also died from gunshot wounds.
The police report said one member of the police's elite special action force and the transport firm's security guard also died after being hit in the crossfire.
Two police officers were wounded, including the chief of the police highway patrol group's special operations unit..
Police recovered four M16 rifles, two .45 calibre guns, handheld radios, ammunition and a police jacket in the robbers' vehicle.
Police are investigating the possibility that the robbers may have been former police officers involved in a spate of bank heists, Chief Superintendent Perfecto Palad, director of the police highway patrol group told reporters.
"They are ruthless criminals who will not hesitate to kill at the slightest provocation," Palad said.
Leopoldo Bataoil, Manila police chief, told reporters he has ordered an inquiry into the shootout after receiving complaints from witnesses and relatives of the victims that the passing motorists were hit by police.