Cops scour for gun owners near Nicole's home

By Dharel Placido,

Posted at Jan 04 2013 11:34 AM | Updated as of Jan 04 2013 07:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines – A police official on Friday said investigators will concentrate on scouring for gun owners living near the house of stray bullet fatality Stephanie Nicole Ella.

Superintendent Jack Candelario, spokesperson of the Caloocan City police, said investigators have determined that the gun that discharged the stray bullet that killed Stephanie was fired within 50 meters from the victim's house.

He said the investigation will focus on .45-caliber pistols, which is the gun used in the shooting.

"Sa ngayon, mayroon na tayong listahan ng mga registered owners within the 50-meter radius," Candelario told dzMM.

Candelario, however, acknowledged the possibility that the person who fired the shot that killed Stephanie Nicole might not be a resident.

Stephanie Nicole was hit by a stray bullet in the head while she and her family were watching fireworks outside their house in Caloocan 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.

Juan Agos, a former Army reservist, surfaced on Thursday with three others in an attempt to clear their names from the shooting.

They were absolved of the crime after a ballistics examination revealed that the bullet that killed the 7-year-old girl did not match those of Agos' .45-caliber pistol.

Agos admitted that his three companions indiscriminately fired their guns during the New Year celebration. He, however, claimed that the shots were fired toward the ground.

Agos, now an employee of a water concessionaire, also insisted that it was only his friends who fired the shots on December 31.

"Ang kasalanan ko lang talaga, ipinahiram ko ang gamit ko," Agos told dzMM.

Aside from the .45-caliber pistol, Agos also owns a licensed Taurus 9-mm pistol and Armscor .22-caliber rifle.

Agos and his friends, identified as Arcadio Julmatico, Eddie Magtubo and Felciano Circano, are scheduled to undergo inquest proceedings today for illegal discharge of firearm.