BACOLOD CITY – An alleged member of an organized robbery group in Negros Occidental was killed in a shootout with lawmen out to arrest him for several charges in Sitio Manluy-a, Barangay San Jose, Sipalay City Saturday.

Police identified the suspect as Eddie Epogon, 25, of Barangay San Jose.

Epogon had warrants of arrest for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and illegal possession of explosives and robbery with homicide issued by Judge Edwin Gomez of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 77 in Sipalay City and Judge Sue Lynn Lowie-Jolingan of the RTC Branch 53 here, respectively.

Police Major James Latayon Jr., city police chief, said policemen served Epogon the arrest warrants, but he reportedly opened fire at them, prompting police to retaliate and kill the suspect.

Latayon said Epogon succumbed to bullet wounds in the head and chest. Police recovered from him a .45 caliber.

The operation was led by the Regional Special Operation Group (RSOG)-6 headed by Police Major Antonio Benitez in coordination with the Regional Intelligence Division (RID)-6, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Negros Occidental, 2nd Negros Occidental Provincial Mobile Force Company (Nocpmfc), Sipalay City Police Station, 604th Company of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB)-6, and Army 15th Infantry Battalion (IB).

Latayon said Epogon was a member of the Epogon Robbery Group responsible for series of robbery and holdup incidents in Sipalay City and Cauayan, Negros Occidental in the previous years.

 The suspect was a relative of the Epogons who were arrested in Silay City last year, the Bacolod police chief added. Latayon said the group is still active and reported to have links in illegal drugs.

He also said that some of the group’s members were scattered in various areas in the province and even outside Negros, like Cebu. Latayon  said he has no idea yet on the number of the remaining members of the group.

Source: Manila Bulletin (