Suspect behind fatal shooting of Ilocos Norte clerk of court, arrested in Vigan City

Police crime scene

BATAC, Ilocos Norte – A suspect behind the fatal shooting of a clerk of court of the Regional Trial Court Branch 65 of Laoag City was arrested last October 2, 11:30 pm, in Brgy. Mindoro, Vigan City, according to a press release from the Philippine National Police Regional Office 1.

The arrest was made in connection with an ambush that transpired at 5:10 in the afternoon of October 1 along the national highway near the vicinity of Brgy Baay, Batac City, Ilocos Norte, where the victims were identified as Randel Villaruz, 51 years old, married, Legal Researcher/Acting Clerk of Court, RTC Branch 65, Laoag City and a resident of Brgy. 6, San Julian, Batac City, Ilocos Norte; and Teodoro Dagupion, 41 years old, married, Court Process Server of RTC Branch 65, Laoag City and a resident of Saud, Badoc, Ilocos Norte.

According to the police report, witnesses heard successive gunshots and saw a Honda City car stopped in the middle of the road with bullet holes on its right side window while a male person wearing helmet with a handgun was seen repeatedly shooting the vehicle before fleeing towards his waiting companion onboard a black gray motorcycle.

Villaruz and Dagupion were found wounded inside the car and were rushed to the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital for medical treatment. Villaruz died while undergoing medical treatment while Dagupion survived and was able to identify the culprit.

During the interview, Dagupion was asked to identify the possible gunman from a police collection of mug shots of criminal suspects. He positively identified Sherwin Riñen as the person who shot the victims.

The combined efforts of members of CRG-SWAT and Ilocos Norte Provincial Maneuver Force Company under the leadership of PCInsp Rodelio F Santos, OIC Batac City Police Station in coordination with Vigan City Police Station, llocos Sur were able to locate Sherwin Dagupion Riñen at the residence of Atty. Joel Marquez in Brgy Mindoro, Vigan City, who facilitated the voluntarily surrender of Riñen.

But in a local radio interview, Atty. Marquez claimed that Sherwin Riñen could not have committed the crime because the suspect was with him the whole day of October 1 when the shooting took place.

Riñen is now under the custody of Batac City Police Station while appropriate charges are being prepared against him. (TNM/PR – PNP PRO1 PIO)