MANILA, Philippines – Philippine police investigating the New Year's Eve shooting death of a local councilman did not have to look further than the last photograph the victim took. That photo led to the arrest of two suspects.
The picture, taken outside the councilman's house in metropolitan Manila, clearly shows a man aiming his gun from behind the victim's smiling three-member family, seconds before he was shot.
The relatives — Councilman Reynaldo Dagsa's wife, daughter and mother-in-law — are seen standing beside the family's car, which has lights on, and the gunman, wearing a baseball cap, is bracing himself against the vehicle and pointing his gun at Dagsa. His face is slightly obscured by the gun.
The car was parked along an alley outside the Dagsas' house. In another corner of the photograph is a man police identified as the assassin's lookout.
Police said Tuesday that Dagsa was shot seconds after the photo was taken and died of his wounds by the time he reached a hospital. His family gave police the photo, which ran on the Philippine Daily Inquirer's front page Tuesday.
Caloocan city police chief Jude Santos said a man identified as the gunman in the picture was arrested Monday. His accomplice also was arrested in a separate raid in Manila the same day, Santos said.
He said the main suspect was a car thief who was out on bail and likely sought revenge against Dagsa for ordering his arrest last year.
Dagsa's wife and daughter, speaking to reporters at their home Tuesday, said the victim had asked them to wake him up before the stroke of midnight so he could join in the usually noisy New Year's street revelry that comes with lots of firecrackers.
The family members said they did not hear a gunshot because the firecrackers were exploding all around them. They only saw Dagsa falling to the ground after he was hit.
They said they rushed him to the hospital but it was too late.