LTO official slain in ambush

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
LTO official slain in ambush
Crime scene investigators gather evidence from the vehicle of Land Transportation Office registration division chief Mercedita Gutierrez, who was killed in an ambush along K-H street in Quezon City on Friday night.
Contributed photo

MANILA, Philippines — An official of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) was killed in an ambush by an unidentified assailant in Quezon City on Friday night.

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) has formed a special investigation task group (SITG) to fasttrack the probe into the killing of Mercedita Gutierrez, the chief of the LTO’s registration division.

QCPD director Brig. Gen. Redrico Maranan said the SITG led by deputy district director for operations Col. Amante Daro will gather all details to establish the identity of Gutierrez’s killer.

“Our prayers and sympathy to the bereaved family of the victim. The QCPD will not stop pursuing the suspect and we will make sure that justice will be served,” Maranan said in a statement.

The 64-year-old Gutierrez was driving her vehicle, a Toyota Starex van, when she was attacked at the corner of K-H street and Kamias Road in Barangay Pinyahan at around 6:20 p.m.

A witness recounted to police investigators that a man on a motorcycle stopped along the road in between Gutierrez’s vehicle and a container truck.

The suspect, who was clad in a gray long-sleeved shirt and wearing a helmet, alighted from the motorcycle and approached the LTO official’s vehicle.

The assailant then shot Gutierrez twice in the face and body with a handgun. She lost control of the steering wheel and her vehicle crashed into the container van in front of her.

The suspect then boarded his motorcycle and drove off but fell after several meters, a witness told GMA News.

The gunman was last seen heading towards V. Luna Avenue.

Meanwhile, a medical team on board an ambulance rushed Gutierrez to the East Avenue Medical Center for medical treatment.

Despite efforts by physicians to save her, Gutierrez died at around 7:59 p.m., with the cause of death as massive bleeding due to gunshot wounds in the head.

Police investigators recovered two bullet casings and two deformed bullets from a .45 caliber pistol at the scene of the shooting.

LTO chief Vigor Mendoza II condemned Gutierrez’s killing.

“This is a cowardly act and we assure her family and the public of our untiring efforts to coordinate with the Philippine National Police and closely monitor the investigation of this incident to bring all the perpetrators of this crime behind bars,” he said in a statement. — Romina Cabrera

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