THE American technical diver who helped in the search operations for the remains of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo was shot dead during an altercation in Las Piñas City.
Las Piñas police chief Sr. Supt. Adolfo Samala identified the fatality Matthew Caldwell, 59, a technical diver of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Auxiliary.
Samala said the victim was shot in the face with a 12-gauge shotgun in the midst of an altercation with Ericson Blacquio, a security guard at Hamilton Heights Village in Talon, Las Piñas City at 10:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Initial investigation by the Las Piñas Police showed that Caldwell and a certain Jeanalyn Flora were in their Toyota Corolla (TTS-316) when they were not allowed by the guard to enter the village for their failure to pay monthly dues.
This sparked a heated argument between Caldwell and Blacquio that prompted the victim to forcibly detach the wooden boom of the gate.
The suspect, according to the witness, was enraged by what he saw, took his service firearm and shot the victim in his face that resulted in his instant death.
After the incident, the suspect and a cohort, commandeered a motorcycle driven by Satanley Verano and fled to an unknown direction.
Samala said the victim’s remains were brought to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory for autopsy.
Elements of the Las Piñas City police have started conducting follow-up operations for the possible arrest of the suspect.
Caldwell flew to Masbate in August last year to assist the PCG in looking for the wreckage of the plane that crashed with Robredo onboard; it took them almost a week to recover the wreckage.