32 gun owners near Nicole's home identified
MANILA, Philippines -- The Caloocan police said on Friday they now have a list of 32 owners of licensed .45-caliber pistols living near the residence of seven-year-old stray bullet victim Stephanie Nicole Ella.
Senior Supt. Rimas Calixto, chief of Caloocan Police, said the .45-caliber pistol owners are all residents of Barangays 180, 185 and 186 in Malaria, Caloocan City.
He said they will check the records of these individuals in Camp Crame for possible identification of the suspect that killed Stephanie Nicole.
Calixto said part of the process and investigation is the matching of the slug taken from the victim's head to the firearms of the 32 gun owners.
He said some of the gun owners are police officers and soldiers.
Calixto admitted it will take them longer to identify the suspect if the suspect's firearm is not licensed, and therefore not on their records.
The results of the matching are expected to be released today or tomorrow.
Stephanie Nicole was hit by a stray bullet in the head while she and her family were watching fireworks outside their house on New Year's Eve.
She passed away at 2:26 p.m. on January 2. Doctors at the East Avenue Medical Center said she suffered 8 cardiac arrests and had slipped into a coma while inside the hospital.
Stephanie Nicole will be laid to rest on January 12 at the Sanctuario de Paz in Bulacan, said her father, Jay Ella.
Meanwhile, the four people who surfaced on Thursday in an attempt to clear their names from the shooting were absolved of the crime.
Juan Agos, a former Army reservist, and his friends, identified as Arcadio Julmatico, Eddie Magtubo and Felciano Circano, were absolved after a ballistics examination revealed that the bullet that killed the 7-year-old girl did not match those of Agos' .45-caliber pistol.
However, they are still scheduled to undergo inquest proceedings today for illegal discharge of firearm.
-- Reports from Johnson Manabat, dzMM; and Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com