SWAT team member injured in shootout with drug suspects in Kidapawan

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 28 January) — A member of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team of the police here was seriously injured in a shootout late Saturday night with three armed men, including a “drug surrenderee” who shot a chainsaw operator, Superintendent Ramel Hojilla, city police director, said.

Hojilla dentified the SWAT member as Police Officer 3 Eric John “Dado” Yamuta.

Yamuta, two of the armed men and the chainsaw operator landed in the intensive care units in two hospitals here. The third armed man, whom witnesses said shot Yamuta, was also rushed to a hospital.

Citing initial reports, Hojilla said that before Yamuta came to the scene, a certain Alvin Taran, a chainsaw operator, was shot by a gunman identified as Sugar Ray Dimaano.

Dimaano, according to police records, is a “drug surrenderee” from Barangay Sudapin.

Hojilla said Yamuta was on his motorbike doing a security check along the national highway when he heard gunshots near the city’s overpass at the boundary of Datu Ingkal Street and Quezon Boulevard at around 10: 15 p.m. Saturday.

Yamuta had no buddy when he did the security check, Hojilla said.

Police quoted witnesses as saying Yamuta fired his 9mm pistol and hit Dimaano and his two companions — David Adolfo and Mario Pagaduan dela cruz.

But Hojilla said Yamuta ran out of bullets and was shot by dela Cruz.

Yamuta was hit on  the head and was rushed to the Kidapawan Doctors’ Hospital.

At around 2 a.m. on Sunday, he was trasnferred to a hospital in Davao City for further treatment and is still in critical condition as of 1 p.m. Sunday.

Dimaano and Adolfo were rushed to the Kidapawan Medical Specialist Center  while dela Cruz was brought to the Madonna General Hospital.

Taran, the main target, was brought to Kidapawan Doctors and as of 1 p.m. Sunday was still fighting for his life.

Investigators have yet to find out why Dimaano shot Taran and are determining Dimaano’s alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews